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Light Shines In the Dark Skies Of The Wilderness

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Sometimes, if you want to see the stars in all their glory… you have to go out into the wilderness and face the dark. The stars remain during the day but we can’t see them. Only when darkness falls do we see their magnificent splendor.  Continue reading “Light Shines In the Dark Skies Of The Wilderness”

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A Biblical Attitude of Hope

*anchor

To read more devotions by Cheryl Zelenka go to http://facingtrials.com

Where does your hope come from and where does it rest? Is it in the economy or political system? Is your hope resting on your career or financial and social status? Have you placed your hope in your spouse or even in your kids? Hope is where your confidence lies. The only secure and lasting hope is found in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul understood this fact as evident in how he opens the book of 1 Timothy. The very first verse states, that Jesus Christ IS OUR HOPE.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.” 1 Timothy 1:1 (NKJV)

Abraham also understood that his hope had to rest in God. With a mighty promise the Lord spoke these words to Abraham ….

“By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—  blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”      Genesis 22:16-18 (NKJV).

Abraham means “Father of a Multitude.” But it was not until he was 100 years old that his child Isaac was born. Can you imagine introducing yourself with such a name and not have a single child to boast about? To see the promises of God occur, we must trust the character of God and His faithfulness to His Word. God cannot lie and as there is no other name above His, He swears an oath with His own name.

In Hebrews 6:17-18 God reveals His determination to give THE HEIRS of this promise a solid hope by reminding them that He is UNCHANGABLE. In a world that is always changing, the promises of God never change. He cannot lie.

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

AND

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)

Therefore, we can take comfort in knowing our hope, found in Jesus, is our refuge. We all suffer from trials and tribulations and become refugees at some point in life. We look for comfort and help so He is that “Strong Tower” we must run to for protection and strength.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV)

Hebrews 6:19 draws an analogy between our hope in Christ and an anchor. Our hope rooted in Christ is an anchor for our soul, the seat of emotions, our will, and the mind. An anchor is that sure and steadfast presence that keeps us steady and safe in the most turbulent of storms.

During a tempest, the anchor of a sailing ship is deployed to the depths of an ocean floor. It keeps the ship secure so it won’t crash against rocks or get lost at sea. However, the anchor of a Christian is not tossed to the watery depths found on earth. No, instead it is cast high above into the heavenly realm where God the Father abides. Our hope is in Christ. Christ is our anchor. Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of the Father in HEAVEN. Therefore, our hope is in heaven interceding for us both day and night. He does not sleep.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

We have a secure line to our anchor in the throne room. It is made of supernatural twin. But to enter into the hope God has promised, we must FLEE TO the place of refuge. Yes, on our knees we must seek His face and ask for His help. To receive the blessings of God we must exercise our faith, trusting in His love for us and in His plan to give us a hope and a future. Hope is the confident expectation of coming good. This is a strong consolation based on the very character of God. God is love.

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” John 4:8 (NKJV)

MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES. WHERE YOU HAVE PLACED YOUR HOPE?

“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.Psalm 147:11 (NKJV)

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.Romans 15:13 (NIV)

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
Psalm 57:1 (NKJV)

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV)

“For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.Isaiah 25:4 (NKJV)

* SPECIAL THANKS to Pastor Eric Cartier of Rocky Mountain Calvary. His sermon on Hebrews 6:13-20 inspired this devotion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkMapZB8qMk

MY HOPE IS BUILT

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

When darkness seems to veil His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath His covenant and blood
Support me in the ‘whelming flood:
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

When the last trumpet’s voice shall sound,
O may I then in him be found.
Clothed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before his throne.

Words by Edward Mote (1797-1874) and others
Music by Francis Blight (PRS)

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Is Your Cup Filled With Hope?

*Cup of Hope

To read more devotions by Cheryl go to her blog http://facingtrials.com

How do you see your cup, half empty or half full? Do you predict the worst will happen in any given situation or are you well practiced at finding the Silver Lining? Is your hope resting on Jesus and His love for you? Hope should never be swept under a rug. It is what moves us through our day.

“Look at your problems in the LIGHT of God’s power instead of looking at God in the SHADOW of your problems.” ~ Anonymous

God knows His children well and understands our need for encouragement so He wrote a book full of inspiration, promises, and fortification. According to (bibleinfo.com) there are 3573 promises in scripture. If we claim one promise every day, it would take almost ten years to read them but once.

“Let us read the Bible reverently and diligently, with an honest determination to believe and practice all we find in it.” ~ J.C. Ryle

A visual reminder of God’s promised faithfulness can be seen after a storm. It comes in the form of a rainbow. After the great flood, God created this colorful symbol to encourage Noah and his family. It is a continual sign commemorating God’s covenant with mankind and His promise to never again cause a flood that destroys all life. The next time you see a rainbow remember God is in control.

“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.Genesis 9:13 (NKJV)

Jeremiah 29:11 speaks about God’s plan for us and it is not one of disaster and hopelessness. He promises us a hope and a future. However, His plan will include adversity. Such times serve as our training ground in spiritual matters while good times provide us with rest. Both seasons are opportunities to reflect on the faithfulness of God.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Our perspective regarding storms should be that they are necessary and beneficial gifts. They are private refinement sessions with God. Although the discomfort experienced during our sanctification process is often great, His grace is even greater. Learning to rest during our seasons of testing will produce an inner calm of patience and peace. Others will notice the growth in our character and God will be praised.

Why do we doubt God and His GOOD plans for our future? Why do we forget the incredible love He has for us? Why do we question His plan? Like the ungrateful children of Israel wandering in the desert, we become unsatisfied with the manna He provides and cry out for meat. We forget His provisions are what we NEED. Discontent never improves life, instead it consumes our thoughts and leads to bitterness.

The next time you find yourself tempted to complain about a matter, pause and ask yourself, ‘What will my grumbling accomplish? Will my words inspire and uplift others, or will they cause discouragement?’ Will any good come from your state of mind? If not, make a decision to change your perspective.

Find something (there is always something) to praise within the circumstances you perceive as unfair or offensive. It will be a challenge at first but with a little practice, it will get easier to identify the good all around you. After adopting this new practice you will discover you have a happier state of mind.

Seeing your glass as half full will provide you with enough hope to advance through the darkest of storms. That is the power of a grateful heart. That is the power of a thankful heart. That is the power of a positive perspective. That is the power of God.

“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:       I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” Genesis 12:9-15 (NKJV)

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

“We ought not to limit God where He has not limited Himself.”  ~ Jonathan Edwards

“The outlook is gloomy, but the uplook is glorious!” ~ Unknown

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God’s Healing Balm

*Broken Heart

To read more devotions by Cheryl Zelenka go to http://facingtrials.com

Our God is a healer. He is the “Great Physician,” and this means spiritual and emotional healing, not just physical healing.

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

I won’t assume that all of you have suffered through the death of a brother, a brain tumor, cancer, or clinical depression. These are my bag of troubles and woes. However, I am pretty certain everyone has (or will) come to know the pain of heartbreak.

Many different circumstances cause such a malady, but one common side affect is agony. The level of torment will vary, but the discomfort it causes is one we can all relate to, empathize with, and comprehend. Jesus was a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief. Our God is not without understanding, for surely His heart broke when He witnessed the death of His only begotten Son.

So why? Why must we experience pain and broken hearts? Why would a loving God permit or even cause His beloved children to experience the sorrow of heartache? Could it be because He loves us? Is it possible a broken heart is God’s means to break apart our self-will? A surrender of self would cause a believer to lean all the more on God.

1 Peter 5:7 tell us to cast all of our anxieties and cares to God, for He cares for us. Our heavenly Father wants to take on our worries. In addition, Philippians 4:19 reminds us that God will provide for our every need. He is the “Great Provider.” God wants to furnish us with all we require.

When we are too self-reliant, we take God out of the picture. However, if we are suddenly faced with impossible odds, a cry to the heavens is often our response. Tribulation is one way God gets our attention. Sadly, it takes affliction for many of us to notice Him.

“O Lord my God, I cried out to You,and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2 (NKJV)

So, affliction is allowed to enter our lives, permitting an open door for pain and heartache to pass through. It is only after these “guests” have entered our home that we truly experience the blessing of God’s miraculous healing. The one we love may die, so where is this healing? Why didn’t our beloved recover?

God sees the whole picture at such times and His number one goal is to save souls from eternal damnation. He looks for opportunities to bring all men to their knees, hoping they repent of their evil ways. He wants every one of His children to acknowledge the redemptive power found only through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Therefore, if the one we love must suffer or die, breaking our hearts in the process, God has allowed it for some greater good. One death is able to produce a full harvest of repentant sinners and immeasurable spiritual healing. Is this not what every Christian should long for and desire; Even if it means loss and the pain of a broken heart?

There is a comfort we can cling to regarding such times of suffering. Solace is found in knowing God will faithfully heal all wounds and broken hearts, so long as we let Him. This occurs when we lay down our hardened hearts and feelings of bitterness. Submitted before His sovereignty, we can then ask God to make our hearts once again pliable and useful for HIS purpose. For it is by the stripes Jesus endured on the cross that we are healed.

Our lives are not our own. I will say this again, dear one. Our lives are not our own… they are for the pleasure and glory of God. What He chooses to use us for is His divine right. What He decides to ask of us is appropriate and fitting. His will should be our heart’s desire. Our love for Him should be so great that whatever He requires from us is our good pleasure.

If trust is an issue, will you pray about trusting God with your care once again? Let Him put a balm over your wound or heart-crack. Decide right now to move forward. If grief has bound you in chains break free, for He came to set all captives free. There are joys to be found in the remaining years of your life. There is much joy to be found in service. Use the life He has given you and totally dedicate it for His purpose. He has turned the wailing of many into dancing. Joy WILL come in the morning. There are many new wonders yet to be experienced. Your best day has yet to be lived!

God knows your frame and what you are able to withstand. You are stronger than you think, for God is your strength and He can do all things. Reach out and call upon His grace! Let go of the old and step into the new. It will be hard but it is time! Your Savior will never forget your heartbreak. It has great meaning and value; otherwise it would not have hurt BOTH of you so much. Your broken heart will serve as a lovely stepping-stone into a new and specially designed future.

We were created for service and for the act of worship. God deserves all glory and praise. Living a full life of joy and moving out of the past is a true sacrifice of praise. With each heartbreak there is a healing balm, and with each scar we don there is a badge of honor to be worn throughout eternity.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV)

“But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

Find this devotion in my book FACING ANXIETY: THOUGHTS OF WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISE (The first of December 2014) My other books are now on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps