Overcoming Difficult Trials

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Calamity and Confusion


It seems like overwhelming circumstances enjoy a grand entrance. Calamity doesn’t care about being convenient or whether she fits into our daily schedule. In fact, inopportune moments are her favorite time to appear.

 Therefore, it is no surprise that these unexpected situations and times of affliction stop many of us dead in our tracks. Some of us will need a mere moment to catch our breath and remind ourselves to focus on God and not our crazy circumstances. The wind may have been knocked out of us, but we pick ourselves up and stand because our gaze remains heaven bent. 

But for others, their trauma may be so great and their pain so overwhelming, years will pass before they are able to look back up into the eyes of God and once again stand. The wind was not only knocked out of these suffering souls, but their faith was challenged.  Trust in a loving God was questioned and doubt hampered their healing process. Deciding to once again to continue on in their spiritual race is monumental. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

So, when a sudden calamity comes your way does confusion and fear stand in the forefront of your mind? There is a difference between the emotional feelings experienced due to an overwhelming or sudden hardship and the confusion found inside chaos and fear. We are told that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

If fear is overwhelming you as you face your struggle, toss it aside. Fear will torment you only for as long as you let it rule your heart and mind. The Shepherd does not want His sheep exhausted and overwhelmed with anxiety. Furthermore, fear hinders your ability to hear His voice and follow His leading. Remember, Jesus Christ is the PRINCE OF PEACE, not fear!

Standing back up after adversity has knocked us sideways requires perseverance. It also requires a clear head. We are told to cast off every thought that goes against the knowledge of God. If we are questioning the love of God, we need only to remember the loving sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV) 

Your trial will refine you. Your struggle and pain will teach you many things. Gems of wisdom and knowledge are laying at your feet, so pick them up and continue on in your journey. Don’t let confusion and fear hinder your purpose in this life. Take every one of your thoughts captive and run the race set before you with endurance and the blessed peace of Christ Jesus. 

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”  Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV)

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV)

“’I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity;  I, the  Lord, do all these things.’” Isaiah 45:7 (NKJV)

Now, About That Elephant In YOUR Living Room….

Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being positive about what could go right! God has filled the Bible with encouraging words, and He commands us not to be afraid. An obstacle we encounter in life will often lead us into elephant sized fear. That fear will turn into anxiety and worry. Worry will then lend itself to hopelessness and depression, and then right back to fear, where it all started. Well, almost…

I suppose the obstacle is the beginning point for fear. The trial, struggle, hardship, or mountain that God asks you to overcome can often deliver a shock to your system. You may look up to the heavens and say, “Really? Really, God?” This is when your faith and trust in His love needs to kick into gear.

He offers a peace that transcends all understanding, but we are told to go to Him in prayer and with a thankful heart in order to receive that peace. Bending a knee and falling into prayer when an obstacle is looming over our heads requires a sincere faith. The obstacle may not move, at least not for a while, but the peace could come immediately.

This promised peace must be actively claimed. It will just sit there if you do not reach out, grab it, and claim it. The choice to trust God with the matters troubling our heart is the result of our faith in His goodness and provision. Confusion, anger, and fear may destroy the peace God promises us. While it is human nature to be confused, confusion is not from God. Also, having fear and anger will delay our experiencing peace.

It is not our responsibility to fix things; God is the one in control. All a believer needs to do is submit to God, give the burden to Him, trust He will resolve the matter, and then claim the peace. This sounds easier to do than it is, since human nature is always colliding and battling things that are spiritual in nature. We will all wrestle with God at some point.

Remember that Jacob and the Virgin Mary struggled with burdens they did not wish to carry. Even the most humble and mature believer will struggle with releasing his or her burdens to the care of the Lord. However, the fact remains that the peace that transcends all understanding is available, and He tells us to be anxious about nothing.

Like an elephant in a room, the obstacle can sit. It might decide to sit for a very long time. You can watch and obsess over the problem, allowing stress to rob you of sleep. You can worry about how everything is going wrong and falling apart. Or you can stand on the promises of God and step out into life with a positive attitude. The Word tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. So, let the elephant sit in your living room. That’s fine, but get on with your life.

Just as an ignored young child who is acting out for attention and then realizes he no longer has an audience, obstacles will go away. Once you have given the matter completely over to God, the obstacle will no longer be such a distraction. Satan will see that he no longer has power over you and will leave the room. There is no benefit to worry and fret. Worry only leads to evil in that it often grows into disbelief, doubt, and discouragement.

Choosing a positive outlook when faced with hardships will allow you to be a mighty witness to believers and unbelievers. The people in your life will be encouraged and amazed by the calm way in which you are walking through the fire. God may have designed the trials you face so that you have an opportunity to share God’s love with someone.

It takes a mature faith to say you are glad for your trials.

Therefore, “Count it pure joy when you encounter trials of many kinds, for the testing of your faith will develop perseverance.” (James 1:2)

This perseverance will allow you to keep your chin up. God’s strength will allow you to hold onto your hope while facing the obstacles of life.

Will things always work out in the way you hoped and wanted? Of course not! You are not the illustrator of your life’s painting. God has all the hues and brushstrokes worked out. The painting He is creating, thanks to the struggle He has given you, is a masterpiece. So, once again, please stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being positive about what could go right.

Pause and Consider the Words of these two Scriptures 

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT) 

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Anger

Gentle Answer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can forgiveness follow harshly spoken words? Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”                        Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

Provisions of God


What comfort there is in knowing that our God will provide for our every need!!  It is a safety net I gladly accept.  He will feed the poor and help us through every adversity.  We merely need to pray and wait for Him to work.  Answered prayers are answered in His time and in His way.  Therefore, have faith and trust He will provide.  It is a promise! 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19 (ESV) 

Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 that contentment occurs when we learn to be satisfied with every situation and circumstance.  How is it then that God promises to provide for our needs and yet Paul speaks of being hungry?  God provided many trials for Paul to test his faith and love for Him. God’s provision was a supernatural strength that enabled Paul to withstand the hardships.

I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread.”  Psalm 132:15 (NKJV) 

If you are experiencing financial hardship, there will be provision.  He will feed you and clothe you.  He may be putting you through a test of humility, but there is the encouragement that says humility comes before honor. 

When we are in the middle of a trial and issues are whipping around us like debris in a tornado, it is hard to calm our anxieties.  Even so, make an effort to breathe and ask God to quiet your anxious thoughts.  When you can take even a minute to petition the Father help is on the way. 

The enemy likes using chaos and fear to devastate us, so fight back!!  The children of God are not to be lukewarm.  Put on the armor of Christ so that you can be Christ minded and identify the lies of the enemy.  Ephesians 6:10 commands us to “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”  The word STAND is written four times in verses 6:11-14 of Ephesians.  When a word is repeated that many times we ought to make a note of it and do what it commands.

I urge you to stand against your worries and frets today.  I encourage you to stand on the promises of God, including the one stating He will provide for you needs and give you strength.  No adversity or test is sent your way that cannot be overcome with the provisions of your Father. 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”   Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) 

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?”  Luke 12:25 (NKJV) 

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you’”  Hebrews 13:5 (NAS)

Book Review for Divine Interruptions: A Bible Study Through The Book Of Job

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Book Review
Greg rated it 5 of 5 stars
Divine Interruptions is a well written Bible study based on the book of Job. Suitable for single study as well as in a group Bible study or small group setting.

The book of Job deals with adversity and Cheryl is no stranger to this herself. Each chapter begins with a personal glimpse into Cheryl’s own painful trial having dealt with a brain tumor. Cheryl skillfully leads us through Job’s trials using key verses from Job and other related books of the Bible, as well as presenting thought evoking questions.

Key take-away: We can see through this study in the book of Job and Cheryl’s own personal trial and subsequent victory over it the way through. No matter the trial or problem we face or the depth of our pain, we need to trust in God realizing that His grace is enough. Both Job and Cheryl faced serious issues and through the grace of God both came through whole once again.    ~Greg Holt Publisher The Olive Branch Report(less)


*Divine Interuptions take 2


Forgive and then…. Let God Work

UTR Forgive Us As We Forgive Others

Dear Reaader,

I did not write this post but I wanted to share it with you. The source is at the bottom of this devotion. Over the years, I have been wounded by friends and family who would not offer forgiveness for my sins against them, or acknowledge their own sins against me. I rest in knowing God has forgiven me and that we all fall short of the glory of God. I am a work in progress. Sactification does not happen in a day. It takes a life time. I am a sinner but a child of God who is well loved by her heavenly Father. May we all learn from our mistakes and do what we can to live in peace with each other. Sometimes, we must trust God to “fix” a matter…. in His perfect time.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)

There are people who insist on holding on to resentment, often inventing situations in their minds that never happened, justifying their bad behavior, and putting the blame on others. They see themselves as the abused party, always quick to take offense. Rarely are they able to have healthy relationships, for they are in reality, the abusers. Their world centers around them, and any attempt by others to appease them, only contributes to the anti-social behavior.

Such behavior betrays a deep spiritual and psychological illness, one that is not easily healed. Such people feel empowered by making other people uncomfortable, and normal attempts at rapprochement often end in failure, for such people are always looking for ways to continue their control over others. Their illness is difficult to heal, for their pride and deep seated sense of superiority makes repentance difficult, for they simply don’t see themselves as having a problem.

One of the Desert Fathers tells us of a young monk who came to his elder, complaining that he’d been wronged by one of his brothers, and following the holy tradition of the desert, had gone to the one who had wronged him, asking for forgiveness. The erring brother refused, so the wronged brother wanted to know what he should do in response. The elder told the young monk that he had walked away justified in the eyes of God, and that there was nothing left for him to do, except to pray for his erring brother.

This true story from the Desert Fathers makes clear that we must always be quick to forgive others, even if they were at fault, not remembering the wrong done to us, nor depend on the other cooperating in the reconciliation. Their repentance is not required, for we will be held accountable only for our own response. Before God, we will be justified.

When another person refuses to accept our heartfelt apology, we must be willing to let it be, and walk away, knowing that we’ve done our part. Abusive people such as these, can, if we let them, prevent us from living our own life in Christ, for they keep our focus away from the forgiveness that comes from Christ. When we walk away from such negative people, we walk away having forgiven them, and we commit ourselves to praying for their repentance. There is nothing more we can do.

Keeping our focus on Christ, we do not react, do not resent, and do not lose our inner peace. The sickness that is at the basis of controlling, abusive people, must not be allowed to take away from the inner joy and peace that comes from our personal relationship with Christ.

For your own soul’s sake, and for the soul of the abuser, continue to pray for them, but go your own way, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).”


Let Patience Do Her Work

Appt Time 4 Everything

“But those who wait on the Lord
shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, 
they shall run and not be weary, 
they shall walk and not faint.”                     Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) 

In order for us to wait on the fulfillment of hopes, callings, and desires, Ms. Patience must step forward and work her wonders.  I picture Patience as a good and kindly woman full of compassion and love. Her mere presence calms and soothes even the most harassed and anxious of souls. Within her gentle nature, there is a hidden and marvelous strength. This strength rises out of self-control and her faithfulness to the one she serves. In fact, it is with pure joy that she assists others, for she lives to glorify her master.

If you read the first paragraph once again, you will come to realize that successful waiting requires the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is tied to love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The soul, who lays aside personal goals and chooses to trust God with His timing and purposes, truly lives in freedom. He or she is blessed for you see, they have learned the way to endurance. Job is a good example of faithful endurance, for in the end we see how God greatly blessed and rewarded his devotion and patience. 

Our Lord knows all about waiting. He has been waiting a very long time to be united with His Bride, the church.  And because the church is still incomplete, we must wait some more. There are many folks who have yet to join the Body of Christ. Because of His immeasurable mercy and grace, He will never consider leaving even one of His beloved behind. This is why His return has not yet materialized.

Therefore, we must rest in the knowledge of His promised return. To do so with an assurance that permits peace and rest is not easy, if our flesh is leading the way.  Instead, it is the Spirit within us that must spur us on to endure.

So, as our God waits, we wait. His justice and truth prevails. One by one, lost lambs are found and carried home to safety by the Good Shepherd. Many dear ones, near to death, suffer from deep wounds and gashes. Though He heals each and every wound, they have been saved right out of the mouth of that horrible lion. 

Eventually, God exposes and disarms …. TO READ THE REST OF THIS DEVOTION GO TO http://facingtrials.com


Praising God Is A Mighty Spiritual Weapon

Praise Him *
I am amazed how God created our bodies as musical instruments. Instruments of praise! When we sing to God, there is an affect on the spiritual realm. We have a mighty weapon and we need to use it more. If you are depressed, sad, or suffering try singing a song of praise, or put on some praise music. This is an incredible video. I was amazed! I hope you enjoy it, even if it is not a worship song. 
“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’ After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:‘Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.’As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” 
2 Chronicles 20:20-22 (NKJV)

Wow ! You will be amazed .. Absolutely Mesmerizing

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 

God Lives Under The Bed


Dear One,

My spiritual “Big Sister” sent the following article from Christianity Today. 


It blessed me so much that I just had to share it with all of my readers. However, before you read another word, ask yourself this question. Are you content with your life and all that God has provided?

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”        1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)


I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that’s what I heard him say one night. 

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, ‘Are you there, God? ‘ he said. ‘Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed…’ 

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. 

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. 

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them. 

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? 

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. 

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. 

He does not seem dissatisfied. 

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. 

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores. 

And Saturdays – oh, the bliss of Saturdays! 
That’s the day ……

TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST PLEASE GO TO http://facingtrials.com

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