Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Forgiveness”

God’s Eyeglasses Of Grace… Are You Wearing Them?


Forgive Fault

Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people,  A heart that forgives the worst,  A mind that forgets the bad, And a soul that never loses faith in God.  ~Unknown

“Open my eyes, that I may see
 wondrous things from Your law.”   Psalm 119:18 (NKJV)

Are you living your life with spiritual eyes? Do you see injustice and pain with eyes of faith, believing in the goodness of God? Do you look at life and trust God is in control, discerning that despite all the confusion and chaos, He knows what He is doing?

There is always a godly purpose in what appears to be madness. Have you allowed personal sin and the things of the world to change your perspective, or are you still wearing the divine spectacles of Christ? If a worldly view has crept into your heart, try to remember the grace He showed you in the past. He was faithful then and will continue to be faithful now…. and always.

When those we love wound us, it is only with the love of Christ that we are able to overlook the offense. In fact, love prospers when a fault if forgiven. Through storms and struggles a bond, like a knot, becomes stronger and more secure. This happens when we decide to weather difficult times together and invest our hearts in a relationship, despite any pain or regrets. Adversity actually makes love harder to unravel.  Everybody will disappoint. It is only God who never lets us down. 

How easy it is to love the loveable! Who can resist a baby’s embrace, a puppy who loves unconditionally, or a friend whose company is easy, supportive, and almost always cheerful? But we are called to love ALL men, including those who are not so easy to love. 

Grace and mercy flows from the throne of God and has a direct line into our hearts. We need only to ask for it. This wondrous flow and wellspring should be shared with others, whether we “feel” like it or not. Love is not just a feeling. It is a living sacrifice, a choice. 

Now, loving all people does not mean you have to have an intimate friendship with everyone, as that would be impossible! However, having an open and obedient heart that seeks God’s will, asking who HE wants in your life, should be on your prayer list. He may surprise you by crossing your path with some pretty unlikely and remarkable characters! 

For you see, God will bring people into your life in order to chip away YOUR impurities. Don’t worry yourself over THEIR faults… God has that under construction. He knows just how to refine and sharpen your faith and has many means to accomplish this process, including interactions with challenging people. Are all “good” friendships meant to be “easy” relationships? This question reminded me of Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

In my mind, a “good” or worthwhile friendship is one that leads us closer to Christ. It helps to chip away our impurities and lovingly challenges us to deepen our bond with the heavenly Father. A relationship that spurs us on to fulfill our call, the call God has assigned for us, is worth more than gold and silver.

However, if a friendship distracts you from your heavenly call  or negatively affects your spiritual walk, I suggest you lay that relationship on the alter of God. He will either refine and purify it, or cut it loose. Give Him time to work. Wait for Him to advise and direct you. Don’t do anything in your flesh. You can be sure that He will make things perfectly clear in His time.

Prepare your heart for His answer as you may not like what He says. It may require a lot of work and effort on your part. I can only say that you will be blessed, if you decide to honor His wishes, obey, and accept His instruction. 

Our Lord sees us as we WILL BE, and not as we are now. Isn’t this a wonderful 

Moses And The Sand On His Back


But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:15 (NKJV) 

Just as Jesus would go off by Himself to pray, we should do the same. Each lesson found in the Bible is there for our benefit. It is up to us if we put them into practice.

Getting away from distractions, in order to intercede for others and find direction from God, takes discipline. We live in a world overflowing with tempting diversions. Letting go of their pull is wise but not always easy since they are everywhere.

While Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert for forty days and nights, the Devil made several efforts to tempt Him (Matthew 4:1-11). Our Lord faced each temptation in faith and victoriously overcame each one. In the end, the Devil ran off and angels were sent to minister to Jesus. Although desolate and solitary places have fewer enticements, the temptations are still there.

Have you ever been wronged by another so deeply that you were tempted to hold on to your bitterness and anger? Did you feel entitled? Sometimes unforgiveness feels good. However, it only offers a false sense of power. God is always the one in control….. not the Devil, you, or the one who offended you.

The Desert Fathers (there were also Desert Mothers) were Christian hermits and monks who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt beginning around the third century AD. There are many little stories and vignettes and teachings that they left behind. Often they are little lessons about spiritual matters. Here is one very famous of their sayings:

“A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you”.

So he got up and went. He took a sack, filled it with sand and cut a small hole at the bottom and carried it on his shoulders. The others came out to meet him and said, “What is this, father” The Abba said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another” When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.”

When we give in to temptation, sin occurs. The Bible tells us that we are never given a temptation beyond our ability to bear. God continually provides an escape route. This means we are always able to forgive. Sure, we may be a tempted to withhold forgiveness, but there are the unfailing provisions from God that enable us to offer it through His love and strength.

Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have to rule on or judge the sins of others? We can just turn them over to God, who judges righteously. He sees all, knows all, and loves all. He is fair and just. Our God is aware of the things that tempt us and has equipped us to overcome each and every one. There is no temptation permitted victory over the children of God, for His faithfulness is never-ending. His powerful equipping will constantly provide us with the means we need to overcome the lure of holding onto unforgiveness.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”    1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
 lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” Matthew 4:1-11 (NKJV)

To read more about the Desert Fathers go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Fathers

The Grace of God Looks For Us

Draw Near Throne for Mercy & Grace

“When you blow it, God doesn’t turn away from you; He turns to you.  His grace is looking for you.” Unknown

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” Romans 5:20 (NKJV)

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. “ Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

Grace occurs when we get something we don’t deserve. It is unmerited favor.

If you have deeply wounded someone in your life, you may think your relationship with him or her is over. However, there is always hope when you have Jesus on your side. Through grace, the wounded party may choose to give you something that you don’t deserve, their forgiveness and a renewed hand of friendship. Only God’s empowerment can enable someone to extend this hand of unmerited favor.

If you find yourself desperate to be forgiven, first pray that God softens the heart of the one you wounded. Ask God to prepare their heart not only to hear your confession of sorrow and regret, but also to accept it. You must lay aside all excuses and accept responsibility for your part. Bringing up their flaws and their possible part in the conflict is not wise; it will only widen the gap. God will convict them, in His time, for their part in the matter.

The grace you long for may not occur immediately and you may have to wait for some time, even years. Don’t loose hope and remain diligent in your prayers for the afflicted one. Be patient, for you serve a God who daily works miracles.

Be watchful that you don’t give the enemy a foothold either.  He will try to convince you that your action is beyond forgiveness. Remember, Satan is a skilled manipulator and liar. God forgave you the minute your sin was confessed. Please find comfort in this fact. He has tossed your sin as far as the east is from the west.

If you have done all you can possibly do to repair the relationship, and it still remains broken, you must let God work things out. Release all control to God and have faith in His power to heal. It is very possible….

To read the rest of this post please go to http://facingtrials.com

The Promise Of God’s Forgiveness

Forgive Me? Small

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:9 (NKJV) 

1 John 1:9 is a PROMISE.  We will find forgiveness in Christ if we confess our sins. This is a blessed assurance.  He will never say, “No, I don’t accept your apology and confession.  I do not forgive you. I do not want a relationship with you.” 

Some of you may know the heartache of humbling yourself and apologizing for something, hoping to restore a relationship, only to be rebuffed or ignored.  Your cry to be forgiven was not met with love or a consoling pardon.  This pain is one I know well. However, all we can do is what the scripture instructs and then leave it to God to mend. 

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No Sin Renders A Servant Of God Useless!

Washed Clean

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)

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

God designed you as a unique individual.  He gave you talents and gifts to bless you and the others in your midst.  He knew you before you were born and fashioned you while still in your mother’s womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, so believe me when I say that God does not create junk!

Sadly, many of us do believe that the mistakes we have made in our past have turned us into garbage.  This is just not true and a lie straight from the mouth of the evil one.  The enemy loves to creep in and whisper lies.  He wants to convince us that our failures and sins have made us worthless and of no benefit to our Father.  To instill a feeling of inadequacy is certainly one of his goals.

When we gave our heart to Christ we became a new creation.  Our sins were forgiven and cast as far as the east is from the west, remembered by God no more (Ps.103:12).  As a new creation in Christ, we are the adopted sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe. (2 Corinthians 6:18)  We are royalty and the *devil wants us to forget this reality.

There is no sin, mistake, or crime we have committed that cannot be forgiven and turned into something good and beneficial by our God.  In fact,……  

Please go to 

http://facingtrials.com  to read the rest of the devotion.

Bitterness Is A Destructive Weed

Better or Bitter?

 “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”   Ephesians 4:31: (ESV)  

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”                            Hebrews 12:15 (ESV)

Dear One,

When going through a difficult time in life, it is easy to imagine that God has abandoned you.  The shock of unimaginable circumstances, the pain and suffering that they may cause, the confusion and whys that fill your mind, could all lead you down a path of bitterness. 

Hebrews 12:15 describes bitterness as an emotion that takes “root” in a person’s soul.  Bitter feelings and attitudes may start out small and hardly noticeable at first.  However, bitterness quickly grows into something very destructive and troublesome.  It has the ability to defile many.  Malice and spite are birthed from it, and could cause a spirit of ill will and a desire to do evil.  It destroys spiritual joy.

Bitterness is a sign of a worldly attitude.  Those who are bitter will often seek revenge, and unforgiveness usually has an iron grip on their heart. The bitter wronged will take on a stance of judge and jury, thus eliminating God’s right to correct His own children.

Frustration and anger, confusion and hopelessness will lend themselves to the development of a victim’s attitude or perspective.  Constant complaints of, “Why Me?”  will aggravate the sin of bitterness.  We live in a fallen world and we are told that we will have tribulations in this life.  God permits suffering for our own benefit.  His own son was called to suffer incredible brutality.  Trials are meant to transform us into the image of Christ.  They are not enjoyable but they will come.

It is the grace of God with which we must fall upon when tragedy hits.  Faithfulness to our Redeemer must be the spiritual fruit we put into practice during such trying times.  It is with our faith, believing in a loving Creator, that we can accept the unacceptable and move past all trials sent our way.

If you have ever pulled weeds in a garden, you know that they can be incredibly difficult to remove. Some of the smallest weeds have deceptively long and deep roots. It takes a great deal of effort and strength to uproot them.  If a garden is well maintained, weeds are identified and removed while still sprouts.  The uprooting does not disturb the soil too much, and little or no damage is done to nearby plants.

However, if a weed is left to grow and is uprooted when fully mature, surrounding plants will be affected by its removal.  They may be damaged or even themselves uprooted, due to their close proximity to the trespasser.  Bitterness is this weed.  It will certainly affect, uproot, and damage all nearby believers.

Bitterness is just like any other sin.  It will affect our relationship with God and our relationship with those standing beside us.  It will not remain hidden or buried. Eventually, it will sprout and flower. Seeds of bitterness are like helicopter seeds, they whirl themselves about and fly into the wind landing in many different locations.

If the entire root of bitterness is not removed, it will grow back.  An act of forgiveness or the acceptance of the purposes and plans of God, will help in removing the weed completely.  Don’t let the gall or impudence of bitterness rob you of your delight.  Your delight comes from knowing that you have been Redeemed and saved.

Bitterness is a work of the flesh and His “Chosen Ones” should not take part in it’s evil.  It causes anger, strife, rivalries, and dissensions.  It hinders God’s request to be kind and compassionate.  We are commanded to put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  Bitterness separates us for God and the fellowship of the Body of Christ. Lay down your bitterness and trust that God has a reason for your trial.

“For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”          Acts 8:23 (ESV) 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”   Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

God’s Forgiveness Will Heal A Hardened Heart

Heal Yourself

Graphic found on this link:


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.”  Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) 

Dear One,

Jesus suffered many physical injuries on His road to Calvary.  The beatings, whippings, and crucifixion left him barely recognizable to His family and friends.  For love and for our salvation, He took up the cross and it is by His wounds that we are healed.  It is through His punishment that we have peace.

Why then do we wrestle with forgiveness, first in giving it and second in receiving it?  We have such an incredible Savior and role model, who loved us while we were yet sinners.  John 15:13 says,  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  There are surely believers who have lived and died this example of Christ’s love, but the majority of us have not.  Our sufferings are great in our own eyes and yet, they are nothing compared to the sufferings of the early church.

We should not compare our pains and trials to other believers, as God knows each of our frames and the measure of strength He has given to each of His children.  Rebellion and personal sin can magnify personal sufferings, so our obedience and submission is a factored in to our trials.

What really matters is that if we sin and then confess it, we are forgiven.  God never refuses our request for forgiveness and communion with Him.  Therefore, why do we withhold forgiveness when others ask it of us?  Is it due to a cold and hardened heart?

How then do you heal a hardened?  It is surely a sign of a sad spiritual state.  It is a hungry and thirsty soul who has neglected the Word of Life and the Springs of Living Waters. It is parched and weak for lack of food and water.

The first thing a hardened heart needs is the love and healing found in the Word of God.  For a time, this hard heart has not been open to the wise counsel of others and has stopped communicating with God, or listening to the prompts of the Holy Spirit.  The truth contained in the Word can break through the self-protection and remind the wounded of the truths Jesus taught.  It is after all in dying that we are set free to find eternal life.

God’s Word will not only feed the human spirit, but it will untwist the lies *satan has implanted in the heart of marble. 

Another important part to healing a hard heart is fellowship.  All of us have sinned.  There are many believers who will not throw the first stone for their own sin reminds them of God’s continuous grace and forgiveness. It is said in Ecclesiastes that it is a good thing to heed the rebuke of a wise person. When we are not walking closely with the Lord, the usual action is to avoid others of the faith.  We tend to become anti-social and isolated.      It requires humility to accept that you have travelled off the path God had you on and seek the support of the Body of Christ. However, once you decide to fellowship and honestly face what has hardened your heart, peace and joy will once again return to your life.

Forgiving yourself for the sins you have committed is also required if you want to soften your heart.  God has taken all the sins of the world, including yours, and laid them on the cross.  It is finished.  When you refuse to forgive yourself you are dishonoring what Christ has done for you.  When you confess your sin, it is cast as far as the east is from the west.  It is forgotten.  Stop reminding your Father of things He has already forgiven and forgotten.  Stop beating yourself up!  He was beaten and bruised so that you would not have to suffer His fate.  Say these words aloud:  By His wounds I am healed.

“As far as the east is from the west, 
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 (NIV)

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”    John 15:13 (NIV) 

“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:5 (NIV)

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.”

Judge Not…. “The Unlovable”

So Loved The World

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”        Romans 5:8 (NIV) 

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”                              John 7:24  (ESV)

Dear Reader,

Who are the “unlovable” in this world?  How do you qualify for this very specific group of people?  Is everyone in the group unlovable to everyone else in the world, or are some of the unlovable actually lovable to the rest of us?

There is nobody beyond the reach of God.  He loves all of us.  In fact, even while we were covered in the mud of our own sin, God sent His Son to die on the cross for us.  We needed to be forgiven and Jesus paid the price with His blood. 

So, I guess ALL of us are the unlovable and it is sin that gives us the “unlovable” title. Thank goodness the love of God can look past our imperfections.  Where would we be without His constant offer of forgiveness?

It is important to examine your heart and take an honest look at your own way of thinking, regarding those you have identified as “unlovable.”  You will probably have to admit that there are other things you consider when sending people over the fence to the “unlovable” pasture. 

Would a lack of personal hygiene be on your list?  Maybe it would be education, status, or profession.  Physical appearance and human deformities might be additional weights of consideration.

Why is the outside always the first trigger, or is it?  Do you consider greedy, pushy, loud, and boisterous folks unlovable?  Does a lack of compassion or courage sweep some people you encounter into that “unlovable” category?  Could a person’s work ethic, or the lack of it, be irritating and enough to earn them a place?

Even though the children of God should view people with the eyes of Jesus, many of us don’t.  We walk around with tinted or shaded eyeglasses that block out the goodness in people.  Instead, we focus on the faults and wrongs of others, not their accomplishments and goodness.  How did Jesus see people?  Did He focus on their sin or love them in spite of it?

Judging is a very dangerous place to be when you consider we will be judged with the same measure we hand out.  Jesus did not come into the world to condemn us.  His purpose was always to save.  Why then aren’t we following His example?  

Who are the “unlovable” in your life?   How have they wounded or offended you?   Do they just annoy you, or do they affect you like a bad case of poison oak when you are around them?  Is there unforgiveness binding you to that “unlovable” person?  Is there a plank in your own eye that  needs removal, so that you can see those “unlovable” folk in your life with different eyes?

You can learn to love this person, with the grace of God.  I don’t mean you have to be best friends or hang out together.  Instead, why not ask God to give you His eyes the next time you run into this person.  You can ask God to show you what He sees when He glances their way.  This will surely give you a new perspective.  It could even develop a compassion in your heart and a willingness to extend grace and mercy.  You do not have to like the person, but you are commanded by God to love him/her.

“And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”Matthew 22:39 NIV

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”  Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV)    

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”    John 3:17 (ESV)    

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