WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Perseverance”

Unbreakable!

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

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

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

God Encourages Perseverance

Perseverance

James 1:2-4 speaks about the importance and value of perseverance. We can learn from this little squirrel!

I speak from personal experience, recovering from a brain tumor is not easy! Overcoming ANY adveristy is a challenge. However, we are given trials to bring about our refinement and sanctification. Endure and persevere for, like this squirrel discovers, there is a great reward at the end of the race.

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4(NIV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J6YsHyYAMw

Do You Have A Steadfast Heart?

Never Give Up

“He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7 (NKJV)

It takes perseverance to overcome difficulties and accomplish objectives.  Setting goals is a great way to attain and accomplish the desires of your heart.  Hopefully, you have aligned your will to the purposes of God.

When after listening to God’s voice and choosing to walk on the path He has designed for you, perseverance must be present.  No Christian journey is free from adversity.  Trials and hardships will require endurance and strength.  Thankfully, we can always call upon His strength and wisdom to withstand and prevail any challenge. 

Let us consider a few men and woman from the Bible and see how their perseverance paid off.  Let’s begin with the story of Noah. 

In Genesis 5:6-8 we read how Noah persevered for 100 years, building an arch according to God’s specific instructions. There was no rain at that time on earth, so building something that big that would float must have seemed foolish to his entire community.  Even so, through faith, obedience and perseverance Noah accomplished the goal God had set before him.  Are you willing to ….

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

Be Persistently Perseverant For God!

Persistence

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”   1 Corinthians 9:24 (NKJV)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

Patience and perseverance help to overcome the greatest difficulties in life. Someone without perseverance will simply sit down and give up when a stubborn obstacle appears.  The problem with this decision is that we are encouraged by God to run our spiritual race as “one intent on obtaining the prize.”

How can you win a race when you have no endurance to persevere through hindrances?  We must finish the purposes God has purposed for us.  Sitting down to rest is understood by our Father.  Sitting down and surrendering to defeat and hopelessness is not faith. 

Obstacles should be viewed as challenges to overcome,  an opportunity to apply knowledge to situations in order to vanquish discouragement and defeat.  In the book of Romans, we are told that we are “more than conquerors” thanks to the love of God.  We are to prevail and believe that God’s purpose and plan will always come to fruition. All things are possible through God, including what we think to be impossible. 

Weariness will occur as you pass through this life, but the truths found in the Word will always help to spur you on to new good works.  Never grow weary doing what is right and just in the sight of God.  He will reward your faithfulness and service with heavenly treasures.

To be steadfast is to remain steady, constant, and unwavering in your purpose or mission.  A Crown of Life is yours, if ….

To read the rest of this devotion please go to my other blog

http://facingtrials.com

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

Do You Need A Giggle? A Test Of Obedience.

Silly Me
Mind you, this is EARLY in the morning and I only had 5 hours of sleep……

Job 36:11      ”If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness and joy.”

Dear Reader,

Lately it seems like God is sending me a lot of tests. I think He is checking to see if I love Him enough to be a fool for Him. As of late, obedience and trust have been big life lessons. However, today may just be a lesson on submission.

My friends all know that I tend to be pretty serious. However, they also know I have a weird, sometimes even bizarre sense of humor. I was at my nanny job this morning (with 2 lattes down my belt) and my ward was in the BR. I was bored. I decided to play with my iPhone. These pictures were the outcome.

You ask, “Cheryl, what on earth are these crazy photos doing on your blog??” My purpose in sharing these ridiculous photos is to simply make you smile, giggle, and laugh. I will play the fool to make you grin. I have grown in confidence since my early years. If your day starts to sour, think about silly me. Hopefully, the giggle you get from this post will carry you through the day.

ARE YOU WILLING TO BE A FOOL FOR CHRIST? WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO TO HELP ANOTHER PERSON? ARE YOU FEARFUL OF MAN?

God tested Abraham over and over. He tested Noah and Moses. He tests me and He will test you to see if you are faithful, obedient, loving, and able to trust in His provision.

Obey-Greek “hupakou” which means to listen attentively; by implication to head or conform to a command or authority. The word conveys the idea of ACTIVELY following a command. In other words….. there is no choice in the matter. The request is to be done whether you agree with it or not. Obedience is not involuntary.

Submit- Greek “hupeiko” which means to yield; to passively surrender to an authority. Submission is like obedience but in in this case one might question what is being commanded. Submission is voluntary.

Philemon 1:7         “For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”

Proverbs 29:25 (AKJV)    “The fear of man brings a snare: but whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe.”

Weird Me

The Potter and His Clay

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Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NIV)       “This is the Word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the Word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand, Israel.

Dear Reader

God creates beautiful things.  We are a wondrous creation as we are made in the very image of Christ.  Sadly, many of us look at our refection in the mirror and are horrified when we see who is looking back. 

The Word of God tells us that He knew us in our mother’s womb.  God knit us together and our frame was not hidden from Him.  He imagined, formed, molded, and uniquely designed each one of us.  We are the masterpieces of the one and only living God. 

So why would God, our Potter, need to reshape us?   Psalm 139 says that all of us are fearfully and wonderfully made. The answer is sin.  Sin mars us and rebellion deforms us. 

Thankfully, God loves His creation so much that He will not give up on us.  He will never throw away the clay resting between His hands.  Rather, His hands will reshape our very being time and time again, in order to remove our sin and rid us of our imperfections. 

He may have to remold some of us several times until WE get things right, and He is satisfied with His workmanship.  He does not like blemishes and will remove them in any way He sees fit.  It is not the creations place to question its Creator.  The number of times the Potter must reshape us will depend on our willingness to accept His will and the path He has laid before us.

Remember that when God looks at you, He sees you as you WILL BE.  He knows of your sins and that is why He is taking time to refashion you into something beautiful and useful. He is always looking through Spiritual glasses.

If God has asked you to do something or is leading you into a certain ministry, check your attitude.  Has He asked you to travel down a path full of danger or grief?  If so, the hardships you experience will only be temporary and they really are serving a purpose. 

With that said, it is with a thankful heart that you should accept and receive His encouragement and leading.  Don’t turn a deaf ear to His voice. If you are hesitating and ignoring the prompts of the Holy Spirit, watch out!  Be prepared for the Potter’s hands and another attempt to reshape you.  God’s purpose will always prevail. 

Take comfort in this:  Not only is God your “Potter,” He is also your Father.  And as a Father cares for His child, so He cares for you. Patiently, He will stay by your side and work out your imperfections and blemishes.

Clay cannot mold itself.  It takes the vision and the hands of one far greater to make something of it.  With this said, clay must submit to the will of the Potter.  After submission is offered up as an acceptable sacrifice, trust must follow.  Yes, you must trust that He is faithful to finish the work that He has begun in you, and that He makes all things beautiful in His time. Trust Him.  He is faithful.

Romans 9:20-21 (NIV)      “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did You make me like this?’  “Does not the Potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)      “ For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”

There Is A Crack In Everyone

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“There’s a crack in everything-that’s how the light get in.”    –  Leonard Cohen

John 12:24 (ESV)      “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Psalm 34:18 (NIV)      “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Dear Reader,

When you have a broken heart, the crack within will allow the healing power of God to enter, transform, advise, and heal it.  You are never going to be crushed beyond repair. The Great Physician will bind up your wounds and bring you miraculous healing, in His time. 

Everyone in this world experiences trials, grief, and hardships.  This is a reality of life and nobody is excluded.  Struggles are sent our way by God to get our attention, teach us lessons, develop perseverance, and build our relationship with Him.  With free will, we have a choice to lean on Him during these times, or attempt to stand on our own.  I guarantee that things will be a lot easier if you ask God to help you out. 

If you are feeling broken right now, remember that He promises to be close to you.  He will save those of you who are crushed in spirit.  He does not abandon you during your time of need.  You are never alone, even when you FEEL that you are. 

He is omnipresent and sees all.  He is omniscient and knows all, including how best to help you.  God is also omnipotent and all-powerful.  He is mighty and strong beyond your imagination. 

Trust and faith must carry you through your struggle.  In John 12:24, the Word gives us an understanding as to WHY each person must break, or die to self.  It is only in dying that we can sow seeds, which will in the proper season bear fruit.  He will give you the grace and mercy needed to accomplish whatever He is asking of you.

By keeping your eyes on your Savior and not your circumstances, you will be able to face each day.  Our God warns us not to look too far into the future for it will overwhelm us.  Each day carries enough worries and woes.  Decide to listen to His voice daily and ask Him what He wants you to learn.  Meditate on the lesson(s) your hardship is teaching you and strive to apply it to your life.  Make it a personal goal to bless others with the wisdom you have gained by walking through your trial.

Sadly, if we do not learn the lessons God has prepared for us, other circumstances will present themselves.  He loves us enough not to leave us in kindergarten.  He wants us to move up to first grade, and all the way through college…. And even beyond.

 If one storm setting is not breaking your will or sin habit, He will design another storm to once again present the lesson He wants you to grasp.  He loves the remedial student as much as the A+ student.  He has no “teacher’s pet” for we are all equal in His eyes.  It is simply a matter of how quickly you want to get through school.  There are more responsibilities required of those who have moved past grade school, but there are also greater riches to be gained through spiritual maturity.

When you have a broken bone in your body, and it is not properly “set,” doctors may have to break the bone again in order to align and heal it.  If a broken leg bone is not set properly, mobility will be hindered leaving the wounded a cripple.  Think about this regarding your spirituality. Refusing to submit to the will of God will expose you to more storms and broken hearts.  Thankfully, God heals completely and will never choose to leave you a spiritual “cripple.” Your obedience will determine your gait and spiritual health.

When you die to self and accept His will in your life, you will discover your brokenness has allowed you to learn and grow in the fruits of the Spirit.  May goodness, kindness, gentleness, peace, love, joy, patience, faithfulness, and self-control be your reward for bravely facing your struggle.  He wants only good things for His children.  He gives good gifts.  Change your perspective and look on your brokenness as a thing of beauty.  For God says that when we are weak, He is strong.

Psalm 147:3 (ESV)   “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

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