Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Trials”

Pearls and Diamonds


We are God’s treasure.  He took great care in our design.  Just as every snowflake, pearl, and diamond is unique, so are we!  However, it takes pressure to turn a lump of coal into a diamond or a grain of sand into a pearl. 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a Merchant looking for fine pearls. When He found one of great value, He went away and sold everything He had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)    

Intense pressure causes great suffering and turmoil. The transformation of our spirits, as we are sanctified, must endure pressures just as a grain of sand or a diamond in the rough must experience.  In the end, we will be the spiritual diamond or pearl our Lord desires.  However, before the Lord can press and transform us into the gem He has envisioned, we must lay down our wills and submit to His.

When we undergo the incredible, but often-painful process of transformation, we will find comfort within the pages of God’s Word. People, even with good intentions, will often leave us unfulfilled and empty with their sincere attempts to encourage and help.  Thankfully, the Bible is filled with every encouragement and hope we will ever need.  The promises of God are sound and true.

We are told that the devil is a prowling lion. He watches and waits for opportunities to pounce and devour. In order to gain spiritual ground, he won’t hesitate to act in our moments of grief, confusion, or pain.  So, we must always be on guard and discerning, his attempts to discourage often occur during our times of weakness and stress! 

This hungry lion knows where to attack and so he will set out to rob us of hope. He knows the weak spots of every believer and looks for unprotected or damaged areas in our spiritual armor.  Therefore, let us keep our spiritual sword sharp, which is of course the living Word of God.  Ready yourself for battle for Satan is not compassionate and will show no mercy or grace. In order to gain spiritual ground, he won’t hesitate to attack when we are at our weakest.  

No soul, pearl, or diamond, will remain in the dark ocean or the pitch-black earth forever.  Something will come along to propel it to the surface.  You will be discovered, admired, loved, and treasured by the ones who find you.  The Almighty God already knows about your beauty.  I am speaking about those around you who finally discover your value, as you live out His purpose for your life.

You are the pearl in Matthew 13:45-46.  God is the Merchant.  When finding you, He sees your value and sells everything He has in order to purchase you.  Jesus purchased you with is blood.  You are His treasure.  Think about your value and your cost to God.  With this in mind, will you now stand up and endure the sanctification process of your heavenly Father?

“Deep in the center of the earth, a diamond is formed. Though many will admire its beauty and usefulness, when its formation is complete, none views the process by which it is formed. It is hidden, unseen, in the darkness.  So is the work of God in the heart of man.”  -Diane Dew                                                        

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)

“Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21 (NIV)  

Facing Trials, Storms, and Adversity Trilogy Now on Amazon!

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My second book of devotions is now available on Amazon. Here is a review from my first book, Facing Trials. I promise… Facing Storms is as good, if not even better!


“I received “Facing Trials: Thoughts For Meditation,” by Cheryl Zelenka for free through GoodReads First Reads. It is one of the best devotionals I have read. Personally, it spoke to the trials I face. As a single mother, my only child died 2 1/2 years ago after a fatal car accident. Ms. Zelenka, a brain tumor survivor, speaks to anyone who is plagued with adversity. She offers hope, encouragement, and reminds the reader of His promises to us. We only need to keep on pressing on through the difficulties of our life journey. I will keep the book, “Facing Trials: Thoughts For Meditation,” close at hand because it fortifies my faith.”

My third book will be available on Amazon the first week of December. Evey devotional is just $12! They are also available as eBooks.

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Three Feet In Front & Holding God’s Hand

Step by Step

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way.”    Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)

Dear One,

After my brain surgery, my world and past life seemed to vanish and I had to start all over again.  I could only see 3 feet in front of me and this irritated the planner inside.  However, now I understand it was God’s wisdom.  I had been through so much that I was easily overwhelmed.  Seeing what God wanted me to do and what I would have to face in the upcoming years would have been too much for me to handle.  Faithfully, I took one step forward and then the next. 

Now that I am healthier, I am better able to see farther into my future, God is…….

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

Fear Of Man Is A Snare Of The “devil”

Fear of Man:Snare-Proverbs-29-25

“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid
of a man who will die, 
and of the son of a man who will be made like grass?”   Isaiah 51:12-13 (NKJV) 

Unjust claims and accusations are never pleasant and can bring a boatload of trouble to an innocent believer.  The *devil would love to destroy your good name and reputation.  Do not fear what man can do to you for we serve a just God!  He will repay them for the sins they have brought against you.  In His perfect time there will be justice.

If you are unjustly persecuted for His sake, you have the assurance of His strength and guidance.  He will direct you in how you should proceed.  “Fear of man is a snare but those who trust in the Lord will be kept safe.”(Proverbs 29:25) 

When facing adversity, whom first do you call upon for comfort, guidance, and help?  Is it God or a friend?  Maybe it is your spouse or a family member.  Who first SHOULD you call upon? 

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


New Days & Changing Seasons Of God


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) 

“A just balance and scales belong to the Lord; All the weights of the bag are His concern.”    Proverbs 16:11 (NAS)

Dear One,

Our life on earth will have times of hardship and tribulation, but there will also be times of joy and prosperity.  We do not know what each new day will bring, but we do know that God walk alongside us every step of the way.  Our God loves balanced scales and would not ask us to endure only drudgery and pain as we work out our salvation on earth.  There will be reprieves from sorrow and pain. 

John 16:33 says we will have struggles IN THIS WORLD.  We have the promised hope of heaven, our eternal home, where strife will not exist. But as we are not yet home, and we live as aliens in this world, we can expect challenging times balanced with times of peace and joy.


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


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)

What Is Your Perspective On Trials, Storms, and Tribulations?

**This article was written BEFORE the author knew of the bombings in Boston. We pray for the injured.  What the devil means for evil, God will turn to something good. We must watch, wait, pray, hope, trust, and believe.

Praise in Storm

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”   Philippians 4:14 (ESV)

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.”  -Anonymous

Dear One,                                                                                                                      When a trial comes your way, do you groan and think of it as an ordeal to muddle through?  Is your first reaction one of fear and dread, or do you see each new struggle with more positive eyes?  The love of Jesus can shed light on your difficulties and bring about a change in your perspective. 

John 16:33 states that you will have tribulations in this earthly life. God will allow or design trials to teach and transform you into the image of His Son, Jesus.  Each struggle is an opportunity to learn more about God and the character of Christ.

The Word calls a man blessed, if he can remain steadfast under a trial (Js.1:12).  By withstanding the test in front of him, he will receive the crown of life.  This crown is promised to those who love God.  It is rewarded to believers who endure suffering and remain faithful to God, even to the point of death. 

There are eternal rewards for remaining steadfast in your faith.  This means you must proceed in God’s plan for your life while enduring difficult trials and tests.  You must move forward in God’s assignment for you, however challenging it may be.  God does not set up His children to fail.  You may think the trail is too much for you but with God’s grace you will pull through. 

Mature Christians, when facing a new trial; have learned to approach the difficulty with a more introspective and positive attitude. Their faith in the promises of God have been engraved upon their hearts, deep enough so that fear is practically nonexistent.  Knowing that God is aware of their frame and that they are but dust gives them confidence. They know that when they are weak, God will be their strength.  This mature Christian knows that God brings Himself glory through human weaknesses. 

There will always be the knee-jerk reaction and shock of an unexpected trial.  Learning to shake off the immediate reaction of dread and fear takes practice.  However, any effort to combat an attack or conflict with eyes of faith will prove profitable.  New spiritual muscles will develop and a deeper dependence on Christ will thus enrich our intimate relationship with Him.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (ESV) 

 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”   James 1:12 (ESV) 

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”                 Rev 2:10 (ESV)

Open The Eyes Of My Heart God

Search My Heart:Open I

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”   Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)

Reflection, stillness, and meditation should be a part of prayer.  We need to listen for answers and instructions from God as much as we need to make petitions.  When we have worries or confusion in our heart, they will eat up our energy and distract us.  It takes faith to lay them down at the throne of God with an expectation that they will be handled. 

Philippians 4:6 Instructs us to be anxious about nothing. Through prayers and a thankful heart, we can rest in a peace that transcends all understanding. This supernatural peace is similar to that found in the “eye of a hurricane.”  You will enjoy light winds and fair weather. In the eye there is blue sky and usually no precipitation. 

When a trial begins, you may be caught off guard and fall prey to the distractions and painful debris it tosses your way.  The whirling hurricane winds might even succeed in confusing you and thus leave you in a daze, wondering what to do.  It is not until you let go of everything you are holding with an iron fist, and toss it back into the storm, that God can finally work.  He will take hold of your trouble and turn it into something amazing and wondrous.

People may think you a fool when you release troubles to God.  They want you to act. They don’t understand that by waiting for God to act you are taking action.  It is highly probable that they will misunderstand your act of faith and trust in God’s power.  We live in a world where people fix their own problems and don’t ask for God’s help.  “God helps those who help themselves” is a well-known phrase. However, it nullifies God’s desire for us to rely on Him.  He wants to care for us.  He wants to be our provider.

Silence before God will provide you with better listening skills, and improve your sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  We are to walk by faith and not by sight.  This concept will confound many of those around you, and they may call you irresponsible or a fool.  But God loves to turn things into good, so any steps in faith you make will serve as a future testimony of God’s faithfulness to provide for all of your needs.

God’s Word will be a lamp onto your feet and help you to find your way out of any troublesome storm.  While you present your request to God, examine your heart.  Ask God to reveal any sins or areas of weakness that need work.  He will be faithful to open the eyes of your heart.

Psalm 119:105 (NIV)   “Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)   “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


Hope Will Move You Another Step Forward

Mercy Y Not Consumed

“If you’ll quit moaning and crying, I’ll use the things (trials) to make you into someone I can use in the lives of others; to show them that no matter where they’ve been, no matter how deep the hole, no matter how painful the trial, there’s hope. There is victory.”     Kay Arthur

Romans 8:24-25   “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Hope provides us with the strength to take one more step forward.   Hope will motivate the weariest of believers to continue on the path God has placed them.  It will never disappoint.  It is tied to faith and love.  If we love God, we have faith in what is hoped for and we are certain of what is unseen. 

After the flood, God gave Noah a promise and a hope.  We can still see His promise today, in the lovely shape of a rainbow after a storm.Storms are difficult and rocky. They will toss a believer back and forth and test their endurance.  They are meant to build spiritual muscles and our dependence on God.  He wants us to rely on Him and not in our own abilities, which He gave us in the first place. 

Hope is a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen.  Hope requires trust and a belief that promises will be kept.  It is with anticipation that hopes are realized. 

If you are working your way through a trial right now and you feel hopeless about your situation, consider this fact.  Satan is a thief and wants to rob you of hope.  If hope is lost, so is motivation and desire.  Hopelessness leaves us weak and powerless against the schemes of the enemy. Hopelessness gives him the upper hand.  In addition, hopelessness disregards the power of God. 

The Creator of the universe can do all things.  He is all-powerful.  We can do all things through Him who gives us strength (Phil 4:13).  Because of this promise alone, we should never loose hope.  Even when things appear dark and impossible to solve, we must remember that God is the God who makes the impossible possible.

Kay Arthur reminds us in the above quote, to stop our complaining about difficult circumstances and trials, as God will use them to mold us.  From the lessons learned within a trial, God will use a willing servant to encourage others.  That servant could provide hope for others, thanks to the faithfulness, comfort, and hope God has shown them from the very start.

We can rest in our hope that God’s grace is sufficient to carry us though fires and rough waters of many kinds.  Our endurance gained through difficult trials, will produce a character in us that is full of hope.

Romans 5:2-5   Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Philippians 4:13  (NIV)    “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Romans 12:12 (NIV)  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,  faithful in prayer.”

Look At Your Problems In The Light Of God’s Power

Look Prob God's Power

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)    “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Genesis 9:13 (ESV)   “I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Dear One,

Are you someone who sees your cup half empty or half full?  Do you think the worst is going to happen in any given situation, or are you well practiced at seeing the Silver Lining?  Do you live by a hope in Christ Jesus or has your hope been swept under the rug??

God knew we would need encouragement while walking the face of this earth and He graciously gave us a reminder of His promises, every time it rains.  The rainbow was first experienced by Noah and marked God’s covenant between Him and the earth.  He said He would never forsake His people.

In Jeremiah 29:11 the scripture speaks of God’s plan for us and it is not one of disaster.  He has GOOD plans for your future.  He is sending you hope with the rainbow reminder, and in all of the promises written in the Bible. 

If you are weary, Isaiah 40 promises God will give you power and strength.  Proverbs 1:33 Promises that if you listen to Him you will live in peace and be untroubled from a fear of harm.  In Philippians 4:19, you can read how He promises to meet your every need. 

According to Everet E. Storms, there are 7959 promises in Scripture made by God. If we use one promise each day it will take us twenty-two years to use each of the promises once.  Wow, can you imagine how your life would change if you started praying the promises of God?

Try changing your perspective and look at your problems in the light of God’s power.  He created all that we know, and then some!!  Don’t let your problems blind you to His mighty strength.  The enemy wants to use your problems to overshadow the glory, wisdom, and love of God.

In Romans 5:5, we are told that…. “Hope will never disappoint.” The trick to never being disappointed is in aligning your hopes and dreams to the will of God.  If you do this, His will is your will and His plans are your plans.  How can you be disappointed when you get what you want in life??  Rejoice in the Lord always.  Yes, again I say REJOICE!! 

Romans 15:13 (NIV)    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Alan Jackson sings ….  “Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
 Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,
 Resting in my Savior as my all in all,
Standing on the promises of God.”


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