Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Wisdom”

A Wise Man Holds Back Anger

*Prvb 29-11

“Anger and bitterness are two noticeable signs of being focused on self and not trusting God’s sovereignty in your life. When you believe that God causes all things to work together for good to those who belong to Him and love Him, you can respond to trials with joy instead of anger or bitterness.” ~ John C. Boger                        http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-anger-20-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2X4DVGzdI

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” Proverbs 14:29 (NAS)

At some point, everyone loses his or her temper. For each of us there is a different trigger and reason for loosing control. The book of Proverbs calls a man who looses his temper a fool. Wisdom and patience is the key to battling your issues with anger.

We often loose our self-control; a Fruit of the Spirit, when something we want is delayed. There is the old saying, “Good things are worth waiting for,” but there are also many Bible verses that mention patience and waiting as well.

Numbers 14:18 tells us that God is “slow to anger and abounding in love.” We are to take God’s traits and strive to be imitators of Christ. If God is slow to anger then we should try to do the same. This requires righteous living so that the Fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives.

Both patience and self-control are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as components of the Fruit of the Spirit. They help to keep anger issues in check. The trick is to live a righteous life so that these virtues are evident and manifest themselves in our every day living.

Our own selfish desires can also provoke us to anger. We quarrel with others when we don’t get what we want. We put our expectations onto others and forget to consider whether what we want is also best for them. Adults throw ugly temper tantrums without the excuse of being a toddler and it is very unpleasant to behold.

Stress can also trigger anger. We lash out and say things we later regret, which only complicates a problem even further. This is foolish and probably why the Bible includes more than one proverbs warning to keep watch over our tongue and fury. Nobody wants to be considered a fool. Nobody wants to be a fool. Heeding the wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs will allow us to be a better witness of God’s love.


“Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23 (NKJV)

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?“ James 4:1 (NKJV)

“So then,my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20 (NKJV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NAS)

This devotion is in my upcoming book FACING ADVERSITY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE  Look for it on Amazon this December and find my other 3 books at this site   http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

Open The Eyes Of My Heart!

Open Eyes Of My Heart Graphic


I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

“Many people feel so pressured by the expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.”  ~ Joyce Meyer


The heart is an organ in our body. It pumps blood through our circulatory system, feeding our cells and organs nutrients. When the Word speaks of the heart, it is referring to the THINKING INSTRUMENT of the SOUL.

Scripture tell us that the heart is the seat of emotions. When Paul prays that the “eyes of the Christian heart” be enlightened, he is asking God to help us grasp the revelation of things revealed to the mind. He wants the revelations to move, motivate, and deepen our spiritual insight. With knowledge, we can then use wisdom to apply the understanding to our lives. 

“The eyes of your understanding”: (ophthalmos) + (kardia), “The eyes of your heart.” 

When the eyes of the heart are open and enlightened, we FEEL the power and wonder of the truths written in the Word. With emotions that are in sync with the spiritual revelations of the mind, a believer can be a highly effective and an honorable vessel or tool of God. A passionate Christian is highly motivated and ready to serve. They want to understand all things of Christ.

When you face a trial, struggle, or unfathomable circumstance, pray that God opens the eyes of your heart. The Holy Spirit revelations to your mind will then ignite emotions resting in your heart that validate the truths of the gospel. We need to feel the truth in our emotions, yes in the heart-not just in our intellect.

It is ok to FEEL the truth with our emotions, but it is not ok to be led by the emotions of the heart alone. Jeremiah 17:9 warns that the heart is impossible to understand and is deceitful. No wonder the heart needs eyes to see what the mind is learning from God! 

JOY is an emotion our spirits experience when chewing on the promises and truths of God’s Word. The eyes of our heart will often rejoice with joy, as our minds comprehend the treasures found in the Bible. However, we must be careful when other feelings convince us to go or do things that would not please God. “It FEELS so good so it must be right” is not always the case. The heart and mind must find confirmation with the leading of the Holy Spirit and the truth spelling out in the Word.

Everything you do flows from the heart and therefore we are instructed to guard it well. It is the wellspring of our life. The heart guide and directs us, and every word that comes out of our mouths starts in the heart. All of our actions and decisions are driven by the desires found in our hearts. That is why it is so important to ask God to make His desires our desires.

May the wellspring of you life (found in your heart) overflow with joy, as the “eyes of your heart” see and understand how deep His love is for you. Delight yourself in the Lord, and then He will give you the desires of your heart. When your will is HIS WILL, how can He deny you? 

Above all else, guard your heart, 
for everything you do flows from it.”     Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) 

Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

The Promises of Knowledge And Wisdom

Wisdom is Knowledge Applied

“The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God.” ~ Charles Hodge  http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-bible-verses-about-knowledge/#ixzz2wAFsNz8H

 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6 (NKJV)

Time and time again I catch myself thinking I have endured enough sorrow and pain, that I have proved myself to God and that the tribulations and testings in life will stop. The truth is they will never end until I reach my heavenly home. This life is a spiritual race and it is an uphill climb. God refines His children and the purification process is a heated and uncomfortable one.

My goal is to keep a positive perspective as I weather each storm. If you are facing a hardship, I encourage you to ACTIVELY search for the blessings and the lessons God has sent your way. Don’t focus on your pain. Focus on the good that is growing out of your suffering… in you and in those around you. The treasure from such times of hardship is the knowledge and wisdom you acquire from overcoming your adversity.

It is so easy to fall into self-pity when a new struggle steps in and blocks our path demanding our attention. We may choose to disregard the circumstances or solution for a time, but eventually the issue grows beyond our ability to ignore. Through prayer, we need to ask our heavenly Father for the wisdom and knowledge needed to continue on with life.

If we don’t confront and accept the reality, there’s a danger the mud puddle we have created with our tears will turn into a pit of tar or even quicksand. The more we struggle against the will of God the deeper we’ll sink in our pit of despair. We can’t change what has already happened but we can receive the wisdom to maneuver our way through it, James 1:5-6 speaks of this promise.

Knowledge should be sought after and with knowledge there comes understanding. God is the ultimate teacher and desperately wants to share His insights with His children. If we seek Him with all of our heart, He promises to be found. By learning about God’s character we’ll find that we have equipped ourselves for battle against the evil one. Reading scripture and learning from those who lived and struggled before us will be of great encouragement and help in your battle with doubt, anger, despair, and fear.

The fear of the Lord, a respect and awe of the Creator of the universe, is the BEGINNING of knowledge. This is a clue to how we gain and acquire knowledge! How do you approach the throne room of God? What attitude do you wear when you pray and petition God? Is your approach one of humility and submission, wonder and reverence?

I pray you spend time with God, asking Him for the knowledge you need that applies to your situation. He is close. Reach out and seek His face with a diligent heart, He will be found. It is a promise you can trust. Be confident in His love for you and obtain as much knowledge as you can! If you apply it to a heart of wisdom, your next trial will be filled with greater understanding and peace.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6 (NKJV)

A Fool Puts His Trust In Himself, Not God

Trust In Themselves R Fools Prv 28 DPI 27

“Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from ANY direction.”  ~Unknown

“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” Proverbs 28:26 (NIV)

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations.”          1 Kings 4:29-31 (NKJV)

A fool is a person lacking wisdom and common sense. They act imprudently and are easily tricked or deceived. If you wish to avoid the label of simpleton, dunce, blockhead, or imbecile I encourage you to seek out and find someone wise and sit at his or her feet for a while. Soak in their knowledge and try to apply it to your life.

King Solomon had many faults but he did appreciate the value of wisdom and understanding. He had the common sense to ask God for wisdom in order to lead the children of Israel. God blessed this son of King David with a wisdom so great it was known around the world. A fool leading a nation is dangerous and both King Solomon and God wanted a wise and competent ruler.

So, if King Solomon was incredibly wise, how did he fall into such great sin that it tore his kingdom apart? How could the ruler who built the first temple of Jerusalem fall into idolatry and turn away from God? I will suggest that pride had a lot to do with the downfall of this king, and possibly an unwillingness to seek out and accept wise counsel.

Pride leads to disobedience and King Solomon did not heed the words of Deuteronomy 17:16-17 (NKJV).

“But he (a king) shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’  Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.”

King Solomon was guilty of ignoring all three of these commands. Did he think he was above the law?

Oh, if only King Solomon had kept the company of insightful men who were willing to speak God’s truth! He may have been the author of such books as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes but ALL men are tempted and can easily find themselves entangled in sin. A lack of wise counsel and accountability for actions has been the downfall of many world leaders, kings, and rulers. Sin is not a disease assigned to just the common man.

So here is a warning and I pray you heed my counsel. You may be in a spiritually mature place right now. Your relationship with God might be intimate and close. The thought of ever stepping out of His will is beyond your imagination. But this is pride! We ALL have the capacity to fall away from God. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert and sober of mind for the devil prowls about like a lion looking for someone to devour.

The story of Solomon is in the Bible for a reason. We must learn from the mistakes of others and King Solomon made some real whoppers. The great can fall. The righteous can become unrighteous.  Sin has no prejudice and will latch on to anyone in sight.

You may be highly favored in the sight of God, just as King Solomon once was, but this will not excuse you from judgment and discipline if you ignore the commandments and instructions found in the Word of God. Our Lord has no favorites. He is impartial. Although longsuffering, He is also just.

Fools may read scripture but this doesn’t mean they apply the instruction to their lives or memorize and keep the words hidden in their heart. King Solomon stopped relying on God and trusted more and more in himself. He forgot the source of his wisdom, wealth, and power.

Oh, how the great have and will continue to fall! I desperately want everyone reading this devotion to consider his or her ways. Are you relying on God or have you put your trust in your own resources? Are you in fellowship and do you surround yourself with wise advisors? Does pride cause you to turn a deaf ear to instruction and has a sin distracted you from the things of God?

Learn from Solomon and fear God. For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom and the foolish do not desire or understand her ways.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

“On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’

And Solomon said to God: ‘You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place.Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?’

Then God said to Solomon: ‘Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge  are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.’” 2 Chronicles 1:7-12 (NKJV)

Wisdom Tells Us To Hold Back Anger

Fool Looses Temper

He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”  Proverbs 14:29 (NAS)

Everybody loses his or her temper at some time.  For each of us there is a different trigger and reason for loosing control.    The book of Proverbs calls a man who looses his temper a fool.  Wisdom and patience is the key to battling your issues with anger. 

We often loose our self-control; a Fruit of the Spirit, when something we want is delayed.  There is the old saying, “Good things are worth waiting for,” but there are also many Bible verses that mention patience and waiting as well.

Numbers 14:18 tells us that God is “slow to anger and abounding in love.”  We are to take God’s traits and strive to be imitators of Christ.  If God is slow to anger then we …..

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


Seeking The Wisdom Of God


When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil,
from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness”   Proverbs 2:10-13 (NKJV)

Why does the Word of God put such emphasis on wisdom?  Why is it so important to be wise?  What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

Wisdom is knowing how and when to apply knowledge.  You can have an IQ that is off the charts but still be considered a fool.  You do not have to be a genius to be wise.

God wants His children to be wise for several reasons.  First, wisdom leads to acts of discretion and Proverbs 2:11 says …..

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

Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron Sharpens Iron

Do you have a friend who sharpens you with iron truth?  Their worth is beyond measure.  Keep them close to your heart since you will need them in good times and bad.  Hopefully, you will sharpen them in return.  It is always a double blessing when both people in a relationship are blessed by the honesty and integrity of the other.

 If you don’t have a relative or friend who sharpens you and makes you a better Christian witness, pray.  Ask God to bring a Barnabas (encouraging peer) or Paul (Spiritual mentor) into your life.  We all need encouragement, instruction, and accountability.





Dear Reader,

I had a little extra time today, so I am REPOSTING this article on confusion.  I hope it serves to encourage you.

I Corinthians 14:33       “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace… “

There are times in a Christian walk when confusion attacks and leaves a believer frozen in his tracks.  The questions in his mind seem to turn into a demonic cloud of smoke, blinding all vision and understanding.  Thus, progress in his journey comes to a complete stand still.

The Word of God warns us to be wise to the enemy and his schemes.  Matthew 10:16  informs us that we are living among wolves and are to be as shrewd as snakes, while maintaining our innocence.

If you are experiencing confusion in your prayer life it is one of two things.  It could be that satan is harassing you and attacking.  This will often occur when a saint make some kind of progress in taking back ground from the evil one.  Confusion is not of the Lord and so you need to dress yourself in the armor of Christ and sharpen your sword, which is of course the Living Word. 

The Bible promises us that if we submit to God and resist the devil, the evil one must flee from our very presence.  We are in a battle down here and we cannot be complacent while on our daily path. 

We are soldiers in the army of Christ.  We need to exercise our spiritual muscles and increase our strength by leaning more and more on our Savior’s provisions and grace.  The Holy Spirit is quiet in nature but faithful to pinch us if we are in danger, or in need of instruction.  Trust your discernment and practice it.

There is another reason why you might be confused.  Is it be possible that you are expecting God’s answer to your prayers to be exactly how you expect and want them to be?  Remember, His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.  His ways are so much higher than ours.  So once again, could it be that since the prayers you have offered are seemingly unanswered, you are confused?  Is it that you are not allowing God to answer them in HIS time and in HIS way?  If this is the case you need to ask for the ability to trust and be patient.

The Lord is the MASTER TEACHER and we are His STUDENTS.  When He sees our heads tilted to the side and the “Huh?” in our glance, He will be faithful to reteach His lessons.

Today His lesson was all about how a believer is to identify confusion and deal with it.  Prayer and scripture is always the best way to overcome the schemes of the enemy.  Take heart and do not hesitate to cry out to God when confusion strikes.

JAMES 4:7      “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

MATTHEW 10:16        “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

1 PETER 5:8     “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

“No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it.” Guy H. King

A Wise Person Knows When To Speak

Way of Wise Small

“A SMART PERSON knows what to say, a WISE PERSON knows whether or not to say it.”   -Unknown

Proverbs 16:21      
”The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.”

Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)      “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Dear Reader,

The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom and the gems within are crying out for you to grab and implant inside of your heart.  The tongue is something that can offer up healing or serve out pain and suffering.  It is the fool who speaks before listening.  In fact, Proverbs 29:20 tells us that a man who speaks in haste has less hope than a fool. Furthermore, Proverbs 21:23 adds that if you guard your mouth and tongue, you will avoid calamity.

When somebody is suffering a loss and feeling grief of some sort, friends and family want to offer comfort through words and actions.  Unfortunately, well meant words can often cause more harm than good.  At moments of tragedy it is sometimes better to be silent.  A kind glance or a compassionate embrace can be more comforting than a well-intentioned but misspoken word.  Remaining silent requires self-control.  Actions of service and love will surely be a comfort to your friend in need.

There are times when you see a believer in sin and you want to rebuke them.  You think, “Proverbs 27:6 says that the wounds of a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”  Do these words give you the freedom to speak a rebuke every time you see sin?  NO!  However, it does give you permission to PRAY.  You might not be the correct person to address the sin issue.  There may be another person appointed by God who needs to share a loving word of concern.  It could be that this is the person who will have an effective influence on the sinner.  If you speak without the leading of the Holy Spirit, you may turn a sinner into a deeper state of rebellion.

Finally, Matthew 12:36 reminds us that on the Day of Judgment, we will have to give an account for every one of our careless spoken words.  This verse alone is enough to give me serious thoughts of taking a vow of silence for the rest of my life.  I know that there have been many senseless, useless, and careless words that have sprung forth from my tongue over the years.  I can’t take them back but I can certainly confess them to God and strive to be more careful with my words.

Try to recall a time when you were full of sorrow and a well-intentioned but misspoken word was sent your way, causing you even deeper pain and agony.  What could the person have done instead to help along your healing?  Is this a possible life lesson for you?  Could it be that you have also unintentionally wounded a person in pain with reckless words, speaking before considering their impact? 

Overall, I believe that people are too quick to speak their minds, judge actions, and give advise.  I encourage you to practice listening more and speaking less.  Let your words be few and as a result you will find that when you DO speak, many will be listening with their undivided attention.

Proverbs 21:23 (NIV)   “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”

Proverbs 29:20 (NIV)   “Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.” 

Proverbs 16:24 (ESV)   “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”

Matthew 12:36 (ESV)    “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.”

“Wisdom is knowing when to speak your mind and when to mind your speech.”                          – Linda Evangelista

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