The Most Difficult Trial

While reading my devotional this morning, it asked this question: “What is the most difficult trial you’ve gone through? How can you use your pain to impact someone else?” My first thought was that I’ve had so many, how could I choose a “most” difficult? If you’re familiar with my story, you’ll understand why I say that. I know I’m not unique in having had a difficult life, and for many of us choosing one “most difficult” is, well, difficult.

Reflecting back, though, it would be losing my husband, Ron. Our life together wasn’t easy, but we had much to be thankful for. We were in our “forever” home, we had a thriving business, we were active in the local church, and we were content. When he lost his health, and began losing the battle with addiction, our life together became difficult at best and untenable at worst. The day I left him was one of the worst days of my life. I was a failure as a wife, and a failure at marriage – I hurt, bone deep. He was in unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, and I couldn’t fix it. His rage at life became all consuming, until nothing (especially me) was safe from him.

I was active in the church before it all fell apart, and I thought I had a strong faith. Friends from the church took me in and protected me until I could live the area. My family rescued me. All of these wonderful Christians came together for me, and they reached out to try to help him, too. How did I react? I got back on my feet, new job and apartment, new church, and new friends added to my life, I thought I was good. I was angry, though, and began to blame God for Ron’s behavior and the destruction of my good life with him. My behavior over the next few years was full of denial, and I was determined to “fix” the world. Needless to say, it didn’t end well, but it did get me back to church and connected with strong Christians who showed me the path back to God.

Through those people and the program, I worked through a lot of my issues, and was able to assist other women going through difficult trials. No one’s life is the same, and we cannot judge anyone by what they are going through. I know this: if we can help someone find the courage to open themselves to Jesus Christ, we are blessed right along side them. He is the Comforter, full of Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness like we can’t even imagine.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/2co.1.3-4.NASB1995

Listen to the song Scars by Casting Crowns. https://youtu.be/qCdevloDE6E

Troubles All Around Us

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2 Timothy 3:12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/2ti.3.12.NASB1995

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.16.33.NASB1995

“In the world you have tribulation….” That is true for every one of us. No matter how much money we might have, or what country we live in. Doesn’t matter what color our skin. Whether of indigenous heritage, or recent immigrant, or long established family; farmer, herder, town or city dweller, we will always have tribulation. People we love will die. We lose our livelihood. We will be persecuted for what we believe, or what color we are, or for how we live. Why?

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/1pe.5.8-9.NASB1995

Almost since the beginning of time, satan, the devil, has been after God’s Creation. He wants it for himself. He wasn’t satisfied with being the most beautiful creature that God created, he wanted it all. Does that sound familiar? In history, so many leaders and rulers have been greedy, narcissistic, evil, and cruel, but no one compares to the Enemy of God’s people. Once the most beautiful, and now the ugliest.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!”
Isaiah 14:12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/isa.14.12.NASB1995

The Darkest Day in America. The day thousands of Americans were killed – massacred – on American soil by a small group of terrorists. That’s the anniversary we just marked. We can lament and weep over this day, following the example of the prophet Jeremiah. His people and his city, Jerusalem, were captured by the Babylonians. The city was destroyed and left as a pile of rubble, just like our twin towers. Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet, the man of sorrows”, wept over his people, just as we should weep at the ongoing attack on christianity. September 11, 2001; Nine eleven, is a symptom, a beacon. We can relate to how broken Jeremiah was when he wrote this:

“I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places. He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood. He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust. My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.”

Lamentations 3:1‭-‬10‭, ‬15‭-‬17 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/lam.3.1-17.NASB1995

God is unfailingly faithful, and the purpose of a godly lament is the regeneration of hope in your heart. God wrote this book through Jeremiah to remind people of the complete destruction, of not glossing over sin, and of total confession. The transgressions of Israel were laid out from A to Z. Can you imagine if he were writing about America? Jeremiah pours out his lament to God, then he writes this:

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.”
Lamentations 3:21‭-‬26 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/lam.3.21-26.NASB1995

How could this happen? How did we get here? How did this happen? Verse 12 says “He bent His bow and set me as the target of His arrow….” God did this, God is in the midst of it. Jeremiah isn’t showing defiance, but asking God “how is Your covenant going to survive?” Samuel Johnson said “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” We need to constantly reminded to trust God; to allow Him to work His will in our life. How will God’s covenant survive if we don’t live it? Remember the scriptures. God’s faithfulness is on display not because of the destruction but in spite of it. God PROMISES.   Consistency in discipline shows affection; He will do what He says He will do. God is faithful.

God’s unrelenting faithfulness, His lovingkindness, abounds and overflows. The compassions and mercies of God are unlimited, and they are brand new every day. They are immeasurable. Have confidence in God’s faithfulness – change your thinking from “great is HIS faithfulness”, to “great is YOUR faithfulness”. In verse 24, “my portion” means “God is everything”. In verses 21 and 24, we read “I will hope in Him”, and in verse 25, “I will wait for Him”. We must be patient, as we are assured that GOD IS FAITHFUL. He provides. Wait for Him!

Brothers and Sisters, UNITE!

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.” Galatians 1:3‭-‬9 NASB1995

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.16.33.NASB1995

We definitely have tribulation in this world! As we come closer and closer to the Rapture of the saints, life as we know it will continue to get more difficult for Christians. Our world is shrinking by the day, as governments across the face of earth are joining in mandates and ruthless anouncements. Republic and democracy alike are shrinking, as administrators behave more like despots. Are we in the Great Tribulation? I can’t answer that because I am not a Bible scholar, and I don’t have a direct line from God telling me when Jesus is returning. I just know that we are getting closer. Minutes, hours, days ….. years? No one knows, and no one can predict it. Are you ready??

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the Grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the Gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:3‭-‬9 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/gal.1.3-9.NASB1995

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” John 17:20‭-‬23 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.17.20-23.NASB1995

We can’t allow things like CRT, mask and vaccine mandates, skin color, party lines, or denominations to divide us! As Christians that means that we have to go back to the Word – the BIBLE – to guide us. We have to live now. Not based on 100 years in the past, on how our ancestors behaved. We have to live now. Take care of others and help others based on the now. We also have to stand up for what is scriptural, and stand against secularism. Not judging. (That’s really hard for me, especially when the people “in charge” are going against everything I believe in!) Remember who is in charge of this world until Jesus returns!

“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” Revelation 12:9‭-‬12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rev.12.9-12.NASB1995

That last sentence gives me chills. “….the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” Especially this: “having great wrath”. The enemy is after earth with a vengeance. All of it, not just Christians! We bear the brunt, because he hates us above all else on earth. His goal is too pull us away from Jesus, and to destroy God’s Creation. Remember the Truth. God wins. Jesus Christ defeats satan in the end. The dragon and death are vanquished! Hold on, stand up, for freedom and for Jesus!

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15‭-‬16 NASB1995

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

There’s a whole lot of bitterness and anger, sarcasm, and spiteful speaking in the world today. Mask or don’t mask. Vax or don’t vax. Guns or no guns. Illegal aliens or migrants. Woke or not woke. Two sexes or multiple sexes. One God, or no god. Stand for the flag or kneel. Freedom or submission.

I don’t mask. I’m not anti-vaccine in general, but I choose not to get the covid vax. I believe strongly in the First and Second Amendments, and I think that every American should be trained in handling firearms. I am not Woke. Life begins at conception, and abortion is murder. If someone wants to come to the United States, they should come through legal channels – otherwise, they should be sent back. I believe that God created man and woman. Period. I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for me. I proudly stand for the flag, and in the (famous) words of my ancestor, “Give me Liberty or give me death.”

I try really hard to be respectful of other people. It can be difficult, especially when they are disrespectful of the things, and the people, I hold dear to my heart. It’s really hard when they disrespect my Saviour. The following is from my devotional today, and it struck me right where it needed to: in my heart.

Words can be used in many ways. They can be meaningful and healing, offer optimism and encouragement to someone in despair, and resolve disputes. A kind, compassionate, thoughtful, or caring word can calm troubled waters, give hope to the hopeless, heal a broken heart, and be a light to those around us. However, hateful, cruel, harsh, or careless words can be used to wound, discourage, or create disagreements by being a disgusting odor that echoes what is in our minds while stirring up strife. When someone provokes anger, their words feel like a sharp knife that leads to pain, and even in some cases, revenge. When you provoke someone to anger with words or actions, at that moment, you are unconcerned with their well-being, the condition of your soul, or the glory of the Kingdom of God. If you love God, why would you want to provoke anger in someone who is also made in His image? Those who love God are careful of their words, so their tongue does not lead to sin by provoking others to anger (Psalm 39:1). 

“Let Love Turn Us Away from Our Wicked Ways” 
By: Dante Bowe & Andrea Fisher

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31‭-‬32 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.4.31-32.NASB1995

LORD, help me today, tomorrow, and each subsequent day to put all the bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander in this world away from me, along with all malice. Help me, LORD, to be kind to others, tender-hearted and forgiving, especially to those who try to get under my skin and trigger me, just as You have forgiven me. Amen.

Listen. HEAR.

I have a really hard time keeping my mouth shut. (Really????) All my life, I have struggled with listening. I’m going to blame it in part to being ADD (or ADHD) – my brain has a difficult time focusing. Anyway, I listen, but when I hear a point I want to respond to, my mouth immediately starts moving before the person can finish what they are saying. I’m quick to hear, but equally quick to speak. My Dad would say “Think before you speak.” In his first letter to the church, James says to be quick to hear and slow to speak.

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
James 1:19‭-‬20‭, ‬26‭-‬27 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jas.1.19-27.NASB1995

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
James 4:1‭-‬3‭, ‬17 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jas.4.1-17.NASB1995

I know that speaking before thinking is wrong. A sin. I’m actually much better now than I was, and I strive to continue to be better at listening first, and hearing what is really being said, rather than reacting to the first thing that hits me. Responding, instead of reacting. As Christians, we need to be able to do that. There are so many conflicts that the enemy is throwing at us and threatening us with. Prayerful responses. I’m talking to me, especially.

LORD, be with me as I struggle to find Your voice instead of my own. I pray for those who read this, and who might struggle as I do to listen and to think before speaking. Help me, help us, as Your children, to promote You rather than us. I love You, LORD, and praise You. Thank You for the life You have given me. In the Name of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray. Your will be done. Amen.

Bless The LORD, O My Soul


BLESS THE LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
BLESS THE LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.
The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
BLESS THE LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!
BLESS THE LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.
BLESS THE LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Psalms 103:1‭-‬22 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.103.1-22.NASB1995
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

The Commandments of God

God created us and He knows us. In knowing us, He also knew that we needed guidance and rules – Commandments. Exodus 20:1-17 lists the Ten Commandments as given to Moses. Everyone knows them, but, do we really? They are listed in descending order of importance.The first four are about God. The fifth pertains to our family. The last five are about our community.

  • Worship only God
  • No idols
  • No use of God’s Name in cursing
  • Keep the Sabbath holy
  • Honor our parents
  • No Murder
  • No Adultery
  • No Stealing
  • No Lying
  • No Coveting

God is GOD alone. He is not shared. The Bible is clear that He is monotheistic: “In the beginning GOD” – singular. There are no other gods out there, but there are many things that we elevate to that status. We are not to worship, or sacrifice to, or put any of those things in front of God, especially the false god of self. To dislodge any false gods we have to pursue the LORD – the positive counterpoint to the second and third commandments of “do not” or “no” is to love Him first and foremost. In Isaiah 45, five times God says “I am the LORD, there is no other.” Many times in scripture He reinforces that we are to love Him first. If you deny Jesus you deny the Father because He is a Triune God, THE Triune GOD. Look at the positive counterpoint to the “do nots”.

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/deu.6.5.NASB1995

When we put God first, worshipping only Him, it’s easier to keep the remaining nine commandments, but we are often like the Pharisees. We keep busy showing the world how religious and righteous we are. The thing is, no matter how much we love and reverence the LORD, we will break His Commandments. Peter, who was Jesus’ right-hand man, was adamant that he would never forsake his Lord. Hear His response, because Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. Then read Peter’s reaction, later, after being asked if he knew Jesus.

Then he [Peter] began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.
Matthew 26:74 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.26.74.NASB1995

Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
Matthew 26:34 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.26.34.NASB1995

The truth is, we all have broken the Commandments. We have all broken the law. Is there anyone who hasn’t, at some point, said anything derogatory about their parents? Even the smallest thing? Can you honestly say you have never put anything or anyone above God, even for a moment? Have you ever disregarded your sabbath? It doesn’t have to be Sunday (or Saturday), but we do need a day of rest. God did it. Are we better than Him?

As for the rest, murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting, we are all guilty. I certainly am! I haven’t committed the physical act of murder, but I have murdered in my heart. I have committed adultery in my heart. I admit to stealing. If you have even taken so much as a piece of paper or a paperclip, you have stolen. Picked flowers without permission. That’s stealing. Lies. There is no “white” lie. Withholding information is a lie. Being jealous of someone – looks, clothes, wealth, spouse – we are guilty of coveting.

“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:9‭-‬13 NASB1995

There’s good news! Yes, we are all guilty. We have all sinned. God knew it before we did it. God knows it….. and He loves us and forgives us anyway. Jesus left heaven and came to earth, knowing that He would be put to death in the cruelest imaginable way. He did it to cleanse our sins with His blood. I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it. But I know it, and I am forgiven. Inexplicably, unimaginably, gloriously forgiven.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name,
John 1:1‭, ‬3‭-‬5‭, ‬12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.1.1-12.NASB1995

Receive Christ. Accept His Love and His forgiveness. We can’t do life on our own, but we can with Jesus.

Shielded by GOD

“Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with Truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the Shield of Faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of GOD.”
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬17 NASB1995

Who’s in Charge?

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Matthew 16:21‭-‬23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.16.21-23.NLT

Are you looking at life like Peter was? I know that for the majority of my life, that’s how I’ve seen and done things. Strictly a human view, and not waiting for God’s view. Too impatient. I still find it difficult to slow down enough in my thoughts to consider what God would think or want. Who’s in charge of your life? If you consider yourself a Christian, like I do, a follower of Jesus Christ, should we be saying “Get away from me, satan!”?

What are you facing today that you need to pray about and wait for God’s leading? Where are you looking at things from the human view, from our human feelings, instead of leaning on the LORD? When do you need to say, “Get away from me, satan!”?

Love God, then yourself. It’s the only way.