November 27, 2012

Living So That Lesson Three

 Trials Come So That…

It was June of 1986, just days after my college graduation. I walked into my apartment to find an armed, masked man standing at the top of my stairs. The afternoon he spent in my apartment transformed my life forever.  For days and months following my attack, I wept before God, shaking my fist, asking God, How could You sit on Your throne in heaven and allow the horrible things that man did to me? Night after night I lay in my bed, tears soaking my pillow. Questions plagued my mind. Why didn’t You protect me? Why didn’t You warn me? Why did You abandon me? Well-meaning friends would tell me that God had a purpose, that He would bring good out of it. I knew they meant well. But how could they utter such ridiculous statements? [Excerpt taken from my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story] I knew no good would ever come from what happened to me that day. There would never be any purpose in the vile acts that man committed against me.  That is what I believed for years and years following my attack.

You see, when I was raped, I was unfamiliar with the  Bible. Oh, I had read it now and again, but I did not know God’s Word. I had no idea that the Bible spoke to the very questions I was asking, not once, but many times. Once God equipped me with the Truth, understanding and healing came.

Being equipped with Truth enables us to face our trials from an entirely different perspective. How I wish I had that perspective in June of 1986. But I am certain if I had, I would not be writing these words today.

Are you angry with God?  Do you wonder where He is in the midst of your trial?  Do you doubt He truly loves you considering what is happening in your life?  If these questions, and others like it, burden your heart, God brought you here because He hears your cries. He wants to speak to you and encourage you.  He wants to equip you for your trial.  This is your divine appointment, sweet friend.

I am so excited for this lesson so let’s begin!

Video Lesson

We have a special guest on our video this week.  Her name is Bobbie Wolgemuth.  Bobbie is my dear friend and mentor and is married to my literary agent.  I shared a bit of Bobbie’s story a few months ago on my blog.  To read it, click here.  At that time, I was asking friends and family to pray for Bobbie as she went through chemotherapy for Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.  When I learned she was in Charlotte this week to visit her two daughters, I knew it was a divine appointment for me and for each one of you to hear her the rest of  her powerful story.  She is a living example of the power of prayer and of God’s faithfulness to through carry us through even the darkest of times with JOY and Hope.  Please set aside a fifteen minutes to hear her inspiring testimony.

This Week’s Memory verse

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

This Week’s Prayer

This week’s prayer is from Psalm 62:1-8 (NLT):

I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.

So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts. Interlude

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.

Homework Questions

A.  Read James 1:2-4.

1. With what kind of attitude are we to approach our trials?

 

2. What word follows “Consider it pure joy, my brothers?”  What does his use of this word speak to you about trials in our lives?

 

James did not choose the word “if.”  He chose the word “when.”  It is not a matter of whether trials will come but when trials will come.  Trials are inevitable because we are a fallen people living in a fallen world.  (1 Thessalonians 3:3).  So, if we know trials will come our way, perhaps our question when they come should not be Why me, God?  But rather, our question should be How do I deal with this trial, God, and what do you want to do in my life through it?

God is a good God.  He tells us trials will come and provides guiding truths and principals to teach us how to cope.  God’s guidance requires us to first look at the type of trial we are experiencing.  Is it one we have brought upon ourselves as a consequence of our own choices?  Or is it one that the Lord has allowed?  Have we disobeyed or rebelled against God or is our suffering totally unrelated to our own choices.  The latter is most difficult to understand.  But God enlightens us and gives us understanding in His Word.

If you struggle believing God ordains some suffering, look at the lives of Joseph and Job.  God needed Joseph in Egypt in the Pharoah’s house to save His people from a terrible famine.  As a consequence, God orchestrated circumstances to get Joseph there. Scripture teaches at the end of the story that Joseph not only saw God’s purpose but testified to it when he forgave his brothers for what they did.

3.  Read Genesis 50:20.  What truth does it teach?

 

In the opening chapter of Job, the Lord initiated a conversation with Satan that led to the testing of Job.  Satan claimed Job’s righteousness was meaningless because God had richly blessed him and placed a hedge of protection around him.  Satan contended that if God took away all Job had, he would curse God.

4. Read Job 1:12. How did God respond?

 

These are not the only stories in Scripture that speak to God as the author of suffering.

5. Read Psalm 119:67, 71, 75, and Hebrews 12:5-11.  Share what you learn.  How does this make you feel about God?  Explain.

 

It is difficult to think of God this way.  But we must remember that He is our Creator and our Father.  He knows us inside out and always has our best interests at heart.  God allows trials for many reasons.  Sometimes He needs to refine us to make us more like Him.  Sometimes He needs to strengthen our faith.  And sometimes another person may need to see Christ’s character demonstrated in us in order to grow their faith.  One promise of which we can be certain…when we respond to trials with faith and trust, God will use our suffering for good and His glory.

B.  What does Peter say about how we should respond to suffering in 1 Peter 4:12-19?

 

James tells us we are to “consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds.” The King James Version says we are to “count it all joy.” This word “count” means evaluate. When trials come, we must evaluate them in light of God’s truths and promises. It’s not the trial that we consider a joy. Rather, it is the results that will come from the trial that we consider as pure joy. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross because of the “joy set before him.” He knew He would be resurrected and would ascend into heaven to once again sit at the right hand of His Father in heaven. And He knew one day He would return to get His bride.

1. According to James 1:3, why are we to consider our trials “pure joy?”

 

The testing of our faith produces perseverance. “Perseverance” from the Greek word hupomone means “an abiding under.” As used here, it means steadfastness or endurance in the face of difficulties. This is not a passive acceptance of our circumstances. It is a courageous persevering through in order to reach what is promised on the other side.

Listen to Paul’s words in Romans 5:3-4,

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Endurance cannot be acquired through reading a devotional, listening to a sermon, or praying a prayer. We must walk through the trial, trusting and obeying God every step of the way. I have never forgotten the words of a friend of mine who had walked through several trials, one after the other.

“God’s faithfulness is most effectively learned when experienced.”

2.  Read James 1:4. What is the “so that?”

 

3.  What does James mean by “mature” and “complete?”

 

What these verses and passages teach us is that before God can work through us, He must work in us!!!

God spent decades working in the lives of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and David before He ever worked through them. Jesus spent three years training His disciples before He sent them out “to all the earth.” These men walked through many trials and experienced many “testings.”

God builds character before He calls a leader. God humbles a heart before He calls a servant.

God refines us through our suffering. Perseverance builds character and molds us to be the women God created us to be. The NIV describes that character as “mature and complete.” The King James Version  says “perfect and entire.” The Greek word “perfect” is telos and means “finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness, perfect.” It implies a mature faith lived out in faithful, loving service.

The Greek word “complete” is holokleros and means “complete in every part, perfectly sound.” It is used to speak of the health and wholeness of the body, physically and spiritually.

When we face our trials with faith; when we keep our eyes on God’s truth and promises in the midst of them, we will persevere. Each step of courageous perseverance builds on the next until we come out the other side a thoroughly mature believer lacking nothing.

C. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Next we will spend time in one of Paul’s most well-known passages from 2 Corinthians, specifically the “so that” verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

But he said to me, ‚My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.‛ Therefore I will boast
all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

As we learned in the last section, God sometimes uses suffering as a tool to build godly character. In the midst of refining us, He pours out His amazing grace. Paul portrays this promise beautifully in the story below.

Paul begins this passage by sharing his vision in which he was “caught up into paradise.” It had happened years before, and even Paul was not certain exactly what happened. But he knew his spirit rose to a place where he was in the presence of God. What he learned, Scripture says, he could not tell. But I cannot help but wonder if God gave him a personal word to prepare him for all that lay ahead for
his ministry. In 2 Corinthians 4:17 Paul wrote,

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Had God warned him during his visit of thorn in his side? Did God impart truths and promises to Paul  that would sustain him? We will never know. But I would like to think this was so.

1. What reason does Paul give in verse 7 for his thorn in the flesh?  How does this make you feel about God?

 

What we do know is that Paul says outright that God allowed this thorn in the flesh to keep him from being conceited. He refers to this thorn as a messenger of Satan.

2 Corinthians 12:7 in the King James Version reads,

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

As hard as it is to understand, there is no other way to read Paul’s words. Paul had gone to heaven and back…an experience few, if any, are given. God knew Paul’s frame and inclinations, so perhaps He gave him this thorn to keep him from being prideful about his experience. God abhors pride. He knows it leads to deeper temptation and to sin. To protect Paul from this, He allowed this thorn. Without it, perhaps the fourteen years of ministry following his visit to paradise would have been filled with pride and failure instead of Christ confidence and success.

Scripture does not identify Paul’s thorn. The word translated “thorn” is skolops and means “anything pointed.” One commentator stated that it means “a sharp stake used for torturing or impaling someone.” What seems clear is that it indicates a physical affliction of some kind that brings great pain and distress. There are many theories, but none proven. Some believe it was epilepsy, others an eye ailment, and still others severe headaches. For our teaching purposes today, it really does not matter. In fact, I think it is best we not know because then, no matter what our suffering may be, we are able to look to Paul’s experience for wisdom and encouragement.

God permitted Satan to “buffet” Paul. “Buffet” translated from the Greek means “to strike with clenched hands, the fist.” This word implies constant, recurring attacks.

2. What is your response when trials and suffering come? How has it worked for you?

 

When God permits trials and suffering in our lives, we have a choice as to how we deal with them. We can blame God and become bitter.  We can wave the white flag and give up. We can grit our teeth and suffer through the trial until the bitter end. Or we can choose Paul’s response. Paul wanted God to take this thorn away. He pleaded with God to take it away. Paul’s words are such an encouragement because he gives us permission to tell God we don’t like what He is doing and to please stop it!

3.  How many times did Paul ask God to take it away?

 

4.  Who else went before God three times asking Him to take something from Him?  (Matthew 26:43-44)

 

Friend, their words teach us that praying for God to change our circumstances does not reveal a lack of faith.  Their stories give us permission to cry out to our Father for whatever burdens our hearts.  He invites us to unload our burdens on Him so that He can can carry them.  But in the end, He may not answer the way we ask.  Jesus and Paul show us that “unanswered” prayer is not always due to our lack of faith.  It is because God has another plan…a better plan.

5.  Write God’s answer to Paul below (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

 

Despite Paul’s desperate pleas, God did not take away his thorn. But He did give Paul a most amazing gift. The gift of grace.

God comforts Paul with these words: “My grace is sufficient.” “Sufficient” is from the Greek word arkeo and means “to be possessed of sufficient strength, to be strong enough for a thing.” Friend, with God, His grace is always enough to sustain us. God’s grace never runs dry. It is always enough! He tells us in His Word that He is the strength of our heart and our portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

Not only is His grace sufficient. God adds this promise: “my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is in our times of greatest weakness that God will pour out His power upon us. He created us in such a way that His power works most effectively when we are weak.

6. Let’s stop for a moment to meditate on what Paul has taught us. Prayerfully reread the passage for this section and any notes you have taken. Share in your own words what this passage is teaching you about the trial you are currently facing. How is God speaking to your heart about applying them?

 

7. God’s grace transformed Paul’s perspective.  Paul ends this passage with a “so that.”  He will boast in his weaknesses “so that” what?

 

Paul wanted Christ’s power to rest on him.

8.  Have you ever felt Christ’s power rest on you?  Describe that feeling.

 

The word “rest” translated here means “to spread a tabernacle over.”  Don’t you love the picture this creates in your mind about our Father in heaven?

9.  Read Psalm 28:7.  What does this verse tell us about God?

 

Friend, we are frail creatures, created by God to need Him. He longs for us to admit our frailty and cry out for help so that He can come to our rescue. He is our covering, our Shield, our Defender, our Strength, and our Strong Tower. He wants to transform our weak, frail bodies into a glorious holy tabernacle indwelt by His Spirit!

Rejoice in His promise:  it is only when we are weak that we will be strong!

D. Read Ephesians 2:10.  What does it say about why God created us?

 

God created each one of us to do good works in the Kingdom of God. These are works which He prepared us in advance to do. (Ephesians 2:10) Sometimes that preparation requires that we endure difficult trials. But, in the trials, we have God’s promise that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Romans 8:38-39)

 1. Read Isaiah 45:2, 55:12 and Romans 8:28.  What does God promise in each of these verses?

 

God promises that no matter the trial, no matter how impossible our circumstances may seem, He will work things together for good.  But His promise in Romans 8:28 contains a condition.

2. Define those for whom He will work all things together for good?  What does it mean?

 

If you are in the midst of a trial, His Word is your encouragement. And even if you are not currently walking through a trial, one will come. Our strength to persevere and endure lies in God’s Word. In it, we will find answers to the questions that plague our hearts and minds. It is there, and not in the wisdom of man, that we will find our answers. He fills it with stories to encourage us and teach us and
direct us.

E.  Read John 9:1-12.  Jesus’ disciples wanted to know why this man was born blind.  Jesus answered in John 9:2-3.

1. Why was this man born blind?  Does this upset or confuse you?  If so, why?

 

For the Jews at that time, morality translated into a simple formula: those who do right will be rewarded and those who do wrong will be punished. Consequently, they saw sickness, weakness and personal failures as evidence of sin in a person’s life (or in the life of his parents). Alternatively, they saw health, strength and prosperity as evidence of God’s favor. This philosophy forms the basis of the disciples’ question to Jesus, “who sinned?”

One Bible commentator described this story beautifully:  “[The blind man’s] tragedy was a backdrop for a blessing.”

I see this in my own story. After my attack, I asked God what I had done to deserve what happened to me. I cried myself to sleep more nights than not. I felt abandoned by God. I locked myself in a prison of fear to protect myself. At times, daily living seemed too much to bear. Yet out of this trial grew a ministry. It is why you are reading these words today. My vicious assault was a backdrop for a ministry. I did nothing wrong. But God now uses my transformed life as a vessel to draw others to Him. The blind man’s story reminds us that we are created for God’s purposes alone, and the trials and sufferings that enter into our lives come to bring about the glory of God.

2.  Is there a trial in your life that God may want to use as a backdrop for a blessing?  Is there something keeping you from trusting Him on this?  Are you holding tightly to the pain, the disappointment, the anger, the bitterness, the confusion, the doubt?  Spend time this week with the circumstances of your trial and the truths God has been revealing to you.  Invite God to show you the Romans 8:28 good…the blessing He wants to give you through this trial.  Ask Him to enable you, through the Word and the power of His Holy Spirit, to move to a new place of trust, peace and joy…even if your circumstances do not immediately change.  Invite Him to help you with your unbelief.

Please remember as you work though your homework, I am praying for you and believing God that He is at work in your hearts, speaking through His living and active Word.

F. Read Hebrews 10:35-36.  

1.What is at risk when we walk through a trial according to this verse?

 

Circumstances sometimes make it so easy to throw away our confidence. Maybe it’s a time when nothing is going as planned. Maybe it’s a time of unanswered prayer. Maybe it’s a time when we cannot see, feel or hear God. Maybe it’s a time of physical weariness or chronic sickness. Our reasons are many and varied. We all have them. We want to give up and walk away.

What we often forget during those times is that we have full access to God’s power and His promises. It is in that power and those promises that we find our confidence. It is not in the world’s confidence. It is Christ’s confidence. Is there a difference? Absolutely.

The world’s confidence is based on what we see with our eyes and what we feel with our emotions. Christ’s confidence is based on Christ and Who He is. We don’t gain Christ’s confidence by simply asking for it. We have to take action.

My friend, Renee Swope author of A Confident Heart, advises that if we find ourselves in this situation we must do two things.

First, when feelings of doubt and uncertainty arise, we must immediately stop and ask God to help us identify what is causing our doubt and uncertainty.

Second, we must compare our thoughts about our situation with God’s thoughts, which are reflected in Scripture.

Do they match? If they do, then we meditate on and pray through those truths, holding fast to them and trusting God to carry us through. We can do this confidently because we know that God honors His Word and that His Word will not return void but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purposes for which He sends it.

If they do not match, we must search His Word for truths and promises to replace the lies we are hearing.

2. In Hebrews 10:35-25, we must persevere in difficult times “so that” what?

 

If we persevere and maintain our confidence in God and His Word, God promises that we will be “richly rewarded.”  Rewarded with spiritual and sometimes even physical blessings beyond measure.

3. Is something stealing your confidence today?  Share with us on the web site so that we can pray for you.

 

As we close today, I want to end with Isaiah 46:8-11.

4. Read Isaiah 46:8-11.  What truths about God do you learn from this passage?

 

 

God knows how to run the universe, the world, and our lives better than we do.  He is Sovereign over ALL things. Nothing, ABSOLUTELY nothing happens outside His sovereign hand.  So when trials come, we need to trust in the character of God.  It isn’t that we can’t have a time of panic when trials come our way.  The key is not to stay in panic mode.  We most STOP and examine our response.  If we are not responding in confident trust and faith, we must identify our response and change it immediately.  What does this look like?

Faith asks these questions:

1. Am I looking for God or am I looking for the nearest escape route?

2. Am I humbling my heart to hear God’s voice?

3. Am I rebelling against God or disobeying a truth I know?

4. Am I harboring unforgiveness?

5. Am I in the Word, claiming and praying God’s promises?

6. Am I ready to trust God no matter how my trial turns out because I know God is good and has my best interests in mind?

G.  As we close, read Joshua 1:7-9.  Meditate on the truths God gave to Joshua and pray for God to bring them alive in your own heart.

God charged Joshua to not only be grounded in the Word but also to obey the Word. He told Joshua not to let it depart from his heart and to meditate on it night and day. And if Joshua obeyed, the Lord promised him prosperity and success. He promised Joshua His presence would be with him wherever he went. God was not saying that Joshua wouldn’t have trials, because difficult trials materialized in the very next chapter. But God was promising that He would be with Joshua through those trials and that Joshua would come out victorious in the end.

Friend, how we handle adversity is an accurate barometer of where we are spiritually. When our barometer is low, it is because we do not have an accurate understanding of God, and we do not have a strong foundation in His Word. And oftentimes the way God increases our barometer is through trials.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These
have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be
proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Yes, our faith is precious, but the trials of our faith are also precious because in and through them we grow closer to God and share in the praise, glory and honor of God. Can there be any better place?

My Call to Action:

What have you heard from the Lord this week?  What steps is He asking you to take regarding a trial in your life?

Commit now to take the first steps in obedience to what you have heard.

Bobbie, thank you again for stopping by our Bible study today!  If you would like to leave Bobbie a message, I know she would love to hear from you.  Also if you are looking for a great Christmas idea for a mom you love and would like to learn more about Bobbie’s Bible, Mom’s Bible:  God’s Wisdom for Mothers, click here, and the corresponding Bible Study, God’s Wisdom for a Mother’s Heart:  A Bible Study for Moms, click here.

Thank you for stopping by today for your lesson and homework.  Please be sure to stop by throughout the week and share your thoughts, comments, answers, and prayers.  I will be praying for you!

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Bobbie,
    It was SOOOO wonderful getting to not only see you, but hear you this morning! Thank you for sharing your testimony with all of us. God truly is amazing! What love He simply lavishes on us! Only He could know what is needed in our lives to fulfill His glorious purpose and will. I look forward to checking out your Mom’s Bible and putting it on my Christmas list. I’m praying that this cancer remains in remission indefinitely and trusting God with whatever comes next.

    Next time you’re in the South Florida area, look me up. Perhaps we can invade Senor Coffee together {my favorite organic coffee house} and share some time together. Blessings to you sister!!

    <3 Heather

  2. Ow how the memorie verse and the prayer / psalm just spoke volumes to me today!
    Thank you!

  3. Dear Bobbie and Wendy,

    I mirror what Heather shared. Both of you exude the Holy Spirit! Bobbie, your testimony really grabbed my heart. I thought of where your heart and mind were when you went into your surgery- expecting a clean bill of health upon waking up. I can’t imagine what you and your husband went through as the fog of anesthesia wore off. Not only did they find cancer… but stage 4.

    To go from that moment to the picture Wendy shared where your hands were in the air- praising God in the midst of your storm… to where you are now- encouraging us with God’s Word and singing His praises… all I can say is you are a blessing beyond measure. You personify James 1:2-4.

    Abba, Thank You for these two precious friends. Thank You for showing us that it truly is possible to rejoice and praise You in the midst of trials… even the greatest trials of stage 4 cancer and sexual assault. Thank You that Bobbie is in remission from ovarian cancer. In Jesus’ Name, place Your healing hand on her body, keeping her in this remission. Both Bobbie and Wendy are offering their stories as living sacrifices- it’s their spiritual act of worship. Please bless them both to the extent where they don’t have the ability to contain Your goodness! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  4. Bobbie, that was such an amazing testimony to hear! Your response to the diagnosis spoke to me in so many ways as I listened to the video this afternoon. Looking at your trial as an adventure and not a battle makes all the difference in the world. All our battles have already been fought (and won) — and it’s so encouraging to know that God has a plan for everything (good or bad) that happens to us. When we trust in Him, when we let go of the fear and the questions of “Why me, Lord?”, then there is such peace. Having been through many trials, I can definitely say that once you let go of the fear and trust that God “has your back”, the journey is so much easier. Not easy, mind you. But easier.

    There are so many people we can help just by dealing with our trials in the way God wants us to, and most of the time we don’t even realize it. The people around us will learn so much about what it means to be a follower of God by the way we respond to trials. A person of the world will stay in panic mode or rage at God for what’s been done to them. But if we trust God and have faith that he will use all our trials for good, then the people around us can’t help but see our faith in action. How many people can we minister to during our trials just by our response to the bad things that happen? How many people will see our response and say, “I want what she’s got — I want that peace and that trust!”

    The bottom line is this: bad things are going to happen. Some of them can be explained, and some of them can’t. All of us will face trials in our lifetime, and that is beyond our control. What is under our control is how we deal with them.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for Bobbie and for Wendy, and for the testimony they give. Thank you for all that they do to model the right response to trials. Bless them both, so that through their ministry they may continue to help those of us still struggling with trials of our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

    • Thank you for the beautiful prayer. And thank you for such great wisdom…”What is under our control is HOW we deal with” the bad things. We have a CHOICE, and we must INTENTIONALLY choose to not live with our eyes focused on our circumstances. We must choose to keep our eyes on God and our hearts on Truth!!!

      Blessings,

      W

  5. Oh WOW Bobbie!

    I’m speechless and tear stained by such a BEAUTIFUL testimony and spirit!

    Thank you Wendy for sharing Bobbie with us and thank you Bobbie for sharing the Spirit within you to survive,thrive and overcome! And PRAISE God for remission!

    Heavenly Father,
    What an honor it is to hear glorious testimonies like these two women share. Thank You Lord so much for Wendy and Bobbie. Continue to use them and direct their ways for Your glory to shine. Thank You for the encouragement that comes through TRIALS and holding on to Jesus Christ as our HOPE! Bless Wendy and Bobbie in all they do, may it continue to plant Truth that transforms and breathes life to others, us and each of them as they sow, may you anoint them freshly and pour back into them a double portion of Your amazing grace, mercy, love, joy, comfort, strength, and a peace that passes all human understanding! We ask and give all the glory, honor, thanks and praise in Jesus precious Name.

    Bobbie … it’s an honor to lift you to God’s throne and now give Him praise and a true pleasure to get to see you and hear you! I love how cute you look in your current hairstyle!

  6. Sheila Payne says:

    This was just WONDERFUL!!!!! Bobbie, you are so radiant with the Holy Spirit. Both you and Wendy are actually. Wendy, you are blessed to have a woman like Bobbie in your life. She is nourishment to the soul. I hope you have her on again. Maybe Bobbi could even start her own blog or get her sweet hubby to publish her story. I could listen to her everyday. Bobbie, I would love to hear all about your walk with the Lord. The way you do not fear and the strength you have to take thoughts captive and replace them is incredible. I see it is true in you and I marvel at your peace. Thank you both ladies for such a great video blog today. It has really touched my heart with joy.

  7. Kristy Aiken says:

    Bobbie & Wendy,
    The only way I know to say this is that the two of you just ooze Jesus…He radiates through you. Women like me desperately need women like you. Thank you, Jesus, for these women!!! You both are amazing and beautiful people. Thank you!

  8. Wendy and Bobbie,

    Listening to the two of you again SO THAT I too can be triumphant in whatever God is doing in my current fiery trial. The obvious was for my unsaved husband, but what does God want ME to learn from thousands of miles away. I shared about this many times in this past month but this is the main post where I tell God’s Supernatural Miracle for me. I feel like Meshach, Sharach or maybe Abednego …

    http://mazmagi.blogspot.mx/2012/11/giving-thanks-one-day-at-time-17.html

    This is what I get for doing a blog series on “treasuring up” followed by the decision to not just thank God during the 30 days of November, but give thanks IN the trials, not FOR the trials, but I had no idea what I was about to face.

    I was so touched by this quote and not knowing this I had to go look it up so I too can memorize this (and maybe some others):

    What is thy only comfort in life and death?

    “Answer. That I with [a] body and soul, both in life and death, [b] am not my own, but belong [c] unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious [d] blood, hath fully [e] satisfied for all my sins, and delivered [f] me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me [g] that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair [h] can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be [i] subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me [j] of eternal life, and makes [k] me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.” oh, and I found out the letters go to these Bible verses:[a]: 1Cor. 6:19,20
    [b]: Rom. 14:7,8,9
    [c]: 1Cor. 3:23
    [d]: 1Pet. 1:18,19
    [e]: 1John 1:7
    [f]: 1John 3:8; Heb. 2:14,15
    [g]: John 6:39; John 10:28,29
    [h]: Luke 21:18; Matt. 10:30
    [i]: Rom. 8:28
    [j]: 2Cor. 1:22; 2Cor 5:5
    [k]: Rom. 8:14; Rom. 7:22

    Heidelberg Catechism http://www.prca.org/hc_text1.html#Q1

    Ohhh and Bobbie I love your voice and the songs that you shared so beautifully.
    Thanks Bobbie and Wendy, such nourishment to my soul today!

    My heart is so richly blessed as I skim through this week’s lesson. I know I will definitely treasure every bit, one morsel at a time. Facing my trials with new weapons of warfare. I love to sing and pray scripture! But this Catechism is much better than questions than the one I remember we had as a child preparing for our First Holy Communion and Confirmation in the Catholic Church. I imagine that they are similar however but this first question is a MUST KNOW for me. May I come close to showing God’s glory and peace as you both do, Wendy and Bobbie when I pass through this final phase of my fiery trial.

    Love to you both and heavenly blessings flow bountifully over you!
    Peggy

    • Peggy, thank you, thank you for giving us the verses from which Bobbie’s words came. What a gift for all of us!!

      Wendy

      • You are so very welcome!!! but it came that way at the site so I can’t take the credit. Just for sharing it with love to these sweet sisters in Christ. I wnated it for me so I thought someone else might as well. I just have a knack for research and finding good data!!! (part of that teacher/librarian degree in me)! You and Bobbie are the GIFT but we all know it’s JESUS in you, the GIFT that keeps on giving!

        Celebrating the GIFT of Jesus as I prepare my heart for this season …
        Love, Peggy

    • Sweet friend! I have to tell you… those were powerful words… thank God IN the trials, not FOR the trials… especially in light of your amazing testimony (which you are still in the midst of). Thank you Peggy for beautiful you! xo

  9. Thank you both for sharing…it’s always encouraging to hear one another’s stories and see God at work! This week’s verse reminds me of one of my favorite verses – Romans 5:3-5: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” These words brought me comfort even before I was a believer when I suffered a career ending basketball injury and later as I walked thru dark days of depression. God uses trials to draw us to Himself. They also come so that we may mature…God again used this verse 4 years ago when I walked thru a miscarriage which was the biggest trial I’ve experienced, but yet He was there and the hope I have in Him and thru Him was more real than ever!

    The Psalm you share Wendy reminds me of Psalm 40:1-3…God will walk thru with us and lift us out, but the timing is all His. We must make the choice to trust and keep our eyes on Him!

    On final note…this afternoon I was visiting with a sister-in-law and she shared how Richard would have been 16 today. He was her son who died at birth and a baby she was advised to abort, but a child God has used. As we shared about this trial it was evident that the pain was real and the road was hard, but it is something God has used in her life and in the lives of many! His strength is made perfect in our weakness and He does comfort us so we can comfort others! Thank you Bobbie and Wendy for doing just that!

  10. I can just echo all that my sisters have written before me – your testimony is just wonderful! It touches my heart in some many ways because God actually calls us to some trials and He is there with us, guiding us and keeping us safe. I am also doing “Greater” bible study with Mellisa Taylor and I can just hear God saying to me – all that I have been through and passing through is for His glory and so that I can accomplish greatER things for Him. I don’t know what it is yet but I am shivering in anticipation of the work that God is doing in my life and through my life.
    I am so just at peace right now and happy! Thank you Bobbie and Wendy, God bless you.

  11. This weeks video was such a blessing to me this morning. Thank you both for sharing. I will be praying for both of you.
    GOD BLESS.

  12. Thank you so much Bobbie and Wendy for this video! It brought me to tears to hear of you choice, Bobbie, to trust Him through all circumstances…and then to be used to glorify Him through it. This has been quite a year for me and my family. Although we haven’t heard the diagnosis of cancer, it seems we have had one trial after another hit us. I have reminded myself time and time again that faith is choosing to take God at His Word and have chosen to trust Him despite circumstances and situations. Not always easy when you’re in the midst of it! Still, it’s amazing how He uses these times to grow our faith, to effect others around us and to reveal more of Himself to us. Yesterday, when I watched this, I needed this timely reminder that there is a purpose and God will use it for good…in our lives and others. THANK YOU again for sharing!

    • Thank you for visiting my psreonal blog . I apologize for taking so long to respond.No matter where we live, this world can be a very harsh and cruel place. The more that God is in our lives, the less room there is for things that are not of God. Your children are such a blessing, they are priceless. Keep your focus on God and He will always be there for you. This life is so short, eternity is forever. I look forward to the day to being with Him.God bless,MichaelPS We need to keep our children and grandchildren in our prayers. We must teach them that this world is not their inheritance, God has all that they will ever need!

  13. I just had the opportunity to watch this this morning. What a blessing! I had just finished the first part of the study where GOD just really opened my eyes to the fact the my response to the trials of life affects those around me. I knew that in my head but GOD really spoke that to my heart this morning. Add this to the learning of praying in Jesus name, where I now have the picture of Jesus covering me as I pray before the throne of grace, I am totally refocused.
    THEN I watched this video! On, my, lanta (as my daughter-in-love says)! Bobbi, I am just so amazed. The joy just flows from you! I love your heart. The blessing of the goodbye song had me in tears.
    Thank you for sharing. Thank you Wendy for sharing.
    Thank You Father for these two women. Thank you for their love for you. Thank you for the blessing they are to not only me but the many others you bring to their lives. Thank you for Bobbi’s remission. I ask that you will allow it to continue. Thank you for Wendy being faithful to teach this study. Bless them LORD with your strength.
    In JESUS name. Amen

  14. Lorraine Nyahora says:

    Wendy our great Lord never ceases to use you up to now. Thank you once again for such an encouraging bible study. This topic has touched me so much and I guess its because that’s where most of us loose it all our faith, our hope and our confidence. I for one struggle with trials I completely loose my faith but here with You in this bible study I am believing my life will never be the same. I am praising the Lord right now for such a bible study which came when most needed. Wendy may the good great Lord bless you and your family during this festive season. All the bible study girls have a blessed festive season as we watch how God is going to work it all for our good as we give him all the glory. Bible study Girls Colossians 3 and on verse 16 teaches us to let Christ words stay in our hearts and to make us wise also to teach others and comfort them.

    • This is one of my favorite verses!! He wants us to allow His Word to dwell in us RICHLY…to fill us fully…to take up residence and move in. I love that picture!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  15. Bobbie and Wendy – thank you so much for the beautiful, inspiring video. As I indicated last week, my daughter recently had a complete cardiac arrest at the beginning of October, just 3 days after we came home from China. God was truly in control of the timing of her care however even then, it was one of the worst experiences I have endured. My biggest struggle was seeing this little girl suffer – It felt like if it was me, I could have felt more in control but to see this little girl in ICU after being left in a market at 8 weeks old, completely stripped me of everything I had and I remember sitting in the hospital chapel pleading for her life and also completely surrendering over to Him. It was frustrating because life had been so tough for her already and I asked over and over again why she had to suffer to give me the teaching I needed?

    There were some great books I turned to during our stay in the hospital but one verse in my Bible reading really popped out in Acts 5:41 “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Hebrews 12 talks about God’s discipline of his children and when Bobbie talked about embracing her trial, I have found that its really about staying in it and continually asking what God is trying to show me rather than trying to escape.

    Daily struggle to keep surrending and watching my daughter recover but it has definitely altered my life.
    Thank you again Bobbie and I am so glad you are well!

    • cheryl nau says:

      Oh Lori, lifting you up as I type to our healing God, that you will have the strenghth and courage to face the trail before you. May you and your daughter feel his comforting arms around you and give you peace. May each new day strenghten your daughter as she continues down the path of restored health with Gods guidance and healing powers. You too are an example to follow by staying in Gods word and searching for his wisdom.

    • I pray in agreement with you Lori for perfect health for the little one, our Lord who is the Greatest Healer will heal her body, spirit and soul, I also pray for strength for you Lori and peace of God. Amen

    • Lori, we are all standing together praying for Jehovah Rapha, God the Healer, to reach down with His mighty healing hand and bring full and complete healing to her body. May God’s ministering angels surround you, your sweet daughter and your family during this time. Praying wisdom and discernment for every doctor and caregiver. May God’s peace fill you during this time as you trust in His care and healing of your sweet girl.

      Love,

      Wendy

  16. Thank you for this timely Bible study on Trials Come So That…There is something that is stealing my confidence today and thank you for the opportunity to post it on this web site so God’s people can pray. I am searching for a job close to home with benefits. I just got word that I was not selected for a job that I was given the opportunity to have a second interview. The job would have been more than I could have ever asked for or imagined. I do covet your prayers as I do not want to fall in self-pity and I want to Trust God that he will provide. In addition, I do want to comment what a sweet spirit and encouragement that Wendy and Bobbie were today. Bobbie, I know it is God’s Will that you be healed completely. I just know that God is going to use you in a mighty way for His Glory! God Bless you both as you continue to share your testimonies and I look forward to hearing what the Lord has done for you and through you years down the road.

  17. cheryl nau says:

    I too am amazed at you two women. The journeys that God has taken you two on, has not only come together to enrich each of your lives but all of us women as well, who God has blessed by putting us in your path. Your faith and wisdom is so deep, I can only begin to hope to have a smidgen of it. Your example has truly blessed my life and given me a direction to follow.
    I am an oncology nurse and Bobbi, Ican tell you that your attitude towards your disease and treatment must have permeated the facility where you were cared for, not only affecting fellow patients but the staff as well. I have witnessed this many times, observing the blessings ones faith has on those in our facility, and I have been blessed beyond measure by my patients. God put you where you were needed and how good of you to recognize this. Blessing on your continued good health and recovery,

    • Cheryl… I have a HUGE heart for oncology nurses. I lost my parents 62 days apart 10 years ago. It was our oncology nurses who made my parents feel “normal”… they were the ones who became my and my sister’s counselors… they brought laughter into our otherwise cloudy days… they held us tight with compassion throughout our greatest trials. I can still hear our nurse Lisa’s voice calling my Mom in for her first ever chemo appointment, “Hello Miss Margaret, how are you today?” And I remember Lisa making a special at-home visit when my Mom was in a coma in her last days of hospice. She held my Mom’s hands, placed her face right next to my Mom’s, “Hello Miss Margaret. It’s me, Lisa.” Cheryl, YOU are an agent of God’s love, compassion, grace, beauty… and so much more… during life’s greatest trials. I thank God for you!!!! xoxo

  18. Bobbie, thank you for sharing your story with us. You are a beautiful woman inside and out. You exude the joy of the Lord and I feel blessed to get to know you this way.

  19. I wanted to share what the Lord spoke to my heart concerning question 5. .

    Read Psalm 119:67, 71, 75, and Hebrews 12:5-11. Share what you learn – The scriptures tell us about the results of trials, affliction and discipline which is righteousnes, knowledge and obedience to God’s laws and peace.

    How does this make you feel about God (Explain) – I think it is one of the ways of God we can’t understand but will learn to accept with faith. God has said that His ways are not our ways and neither is our thoughts His thoughts. God is our Father and just as a discipline is applicable to young ones in other to make them better people, so God also disciplines us so that we can become better people.

    My husband had a really hard time growing up – his parents sent him to live with his uncle (his dad’s older brother) from the wee age of 4. He had little contact with his biological parents and came to respect his uncle and the wife as his benefactors, the wife was however very wicked to him and sent him on all manner of errands, he will be the first to wake up to start domestic chores and also the last to sleep while also going to school. He did this till he graduated from high school and then took a job as a sales boy. He had to work and put himself through university and professional qualification – now he is comfortable and well to do. The flip side of this story is that the children of the woman were pampered growing up and now that they are all grown up nothing worthwhile can be said of them, they are all depending on my husband for upkeep. What he had to go through while growing up must have been hard for him, painful and inhuman because he was used like a slave but today he is better than the children that were pampered and cared for.

    I can relate this to our lives as christians because sometimes it seems as if we go through the worst of situations and persecutions, but in the end a crown of gold awaits us, we will then look at our lives and thank God for the discipline that made us glorious.

    • Wow! What a GREAT story about your husband and analogy!! Thank you for sharing this with us. And what a blessing to be married to a man with such strong character and upbringing.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  20. I loved this video with Bobbie….the spirit of God just oozes from her. And she has the voice of an angel…so beautiful.

    Since we are discussing prayer, I have a very personal prayer request. My daughter is a young mother who needs God’s direction in her life. She got pregnant and married very young so she has no college education. She doesn’t seem to have a real drive or passion for anything but being a mother to her daughter (which is a wonderful passion – don’t get me wrong) but she desires a lifestyle like we provided her while she lived at home. She needs to find a job that she enjoys and that will help her grow as a responsible adult. I am praying that God will help her find the right job with the right people and the right pay so that she can be all that she can be for herself and her family. I would really love to have some prayer warriors helping me reach out to God on her behalf.

    I have been so touched by all your posts during this study. I know this is the right group to bring this need in front of.

    Thank you all!

    • Kim, thanks for sharing…I will be lifting your daughter in prayer and you as well.

      Heavenly Father, I come before you knowing you are the perfect parent…thank you for giving Kim’s daughter the desire to be a Mom. Use that desire for your glory…guide and direct her in how to do that best. Being a Mom is a privilege, but it’s also a huge responsibility…open her eyes to how You need her to fulfill the calling You’ve given. And Lord be with Kim as she continues her role as a Mom to her daughter who is the same..help her love her, encourage her and be an example, but Lord also help her trust in You and allow your plan to unfold. And Father I also ask You to bring other Godly women and Moms unto her daughter’s path…help them speak Truth to this young mom and open her ears to receive what You have to say to her through them. Father this too is a trial…one we trust You are using; help Kim embrace it and keep her eyes on You as she walks through it. In Jesus name, Amen

  21. As I’ve started to dig into this week’s homework I’ve been reminded that trials are not limited to death, cancer, abuse and the like. Currently I’m not walking through a big trial, praise God, but daily there are trials…discipline issues with kids, struggles in relationships, little people with colds that leave them needing me more than normal…

    I just pray we remember to apply these truths to the BIG things and the little ones as well. And remember that this too is preparation…because it’s not if the BIG trials come but when. Ladies if you are walking thru a life altering trial, I pray He comforts you thru this lesson. And if you’re like me dealing with the daily stuff, I pray we will apply this to our life now and also dig in deep while we are not distracted because God has much to teach us. Then someday we can follow Susie Larson’s advice – “Don’t doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.”

    • Jill,
      this is exactly what I was thinking this morning. I have gone through some big trials in the past but right now it is the small daily trials that I am dealing with and this study is such a blessing! I need to remember that the same thing (faith, and that wasn’t always my own, and trust that GOD knows what HE is doing) that brought me through the bigger trials is also what will take me through the daily ones.

    • Wow. Thank you Jill! What wisdom. Yes, Abba, let us be faithful with this rich wisdom we are learning about trials and direct each of our steps as we put it to work in our day-to-day trials of homework, petty arguments, bad drivers (says the Asian female!) and the like. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  22. Ladies,
    Would you please remember my son Zechariah in your prayers? He is 20 years old and in the Marines. Since June 23 of this year he has had stress-induced amnesia. He remembers nothing of the first 19 1/2 years of his life. I KNOW GOD has a reason HE has allowed this to happen. I KNOW He has a plan in this but Zechariah knows none of this. I am standing in the gap for him and would love it you would too. He grew up a young boy with the gospel but due to my disobedience (whole other story) wasn’t walking with the LORD before this happened. My heart is that he would find GOD through this and KNOW that GOD is the rock that he can cling to when he has nothing else….Thank you.

    • Danielle, we do stand with you praying for God to tender Zechariah’s heart and mind to respond to the Holy Spirit and to the truths He was taught as a child. May God heal his mind and bring forward all memories that are hidden deep inside. Praying God’s perfect healing, heart, body, and mind!!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

    • I agree wholeheartedly with Wendy’s words. Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Danielle’s beautiful, trusting heart. Thank You that she’s a testimony in believing You WILL work this out for the good for Zechariah and herself since they love You and they are called according to Your purpose. Lord, take Zechariah’s blank slate and fill it ONLY with Your truths… with Your goodness… with Your Words. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  23. “Is something stealing your confidence today? ” I’m posting my answer because I so need your prayers. In reading this week’s notes and doing the homework, I just feel a fear, and even dread, of the future. I’m so afraid of what trial God might allow next in my life. This fear can’t be of God. If He were preparing me to face some sort of difficulty, I wouldn’t be so afraid, would I? Or is this showing my lack of faith?
    The thing is, when I was 17 I suffered a spinal cord injury which left me a quadriplegic. Less than a year later, my mother died of cancer, leaving my father to care for me and three younger brothers. Over the years, I’ve suffered more loss (close relatives) and have experienced a lot of physical pain, especially now that I’m older. On the one hand, I’m tired. I don’t want to suffer any more trials, especially physical ones. On the other hand, I want God to have His way in my life.. I won’t deny that if God hadn’t allowed the trials I’ve experienced, I probably wouldn’t be walking in His ways. I have a stubborn and rebellious streak in me that the Lord has tamed. But I want to walk in faith and not fear. I really do want to be a woman that God uses however He sees fit. Please pray that the Lord would increase my faith and confidence in Him. I want to genuinely trust in His sovereignty. Thanks.

    • Dale, you are so right. Your fear is NOT of God. His Word says He does not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind!!! And God’s perfect love drives out fear!!! I join you in praying that the Lord would increase your faith and confidence in Him. We say fear you must “flee” in the NAME OF JESUS!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  24. Catherine Shepard says:

    I am a bit behind in the study (trying to do two at once is probably not the smartest thing) and am just now watching the blog today.
    As I sat and listened to and watched Bobbie, she reminds me so much of the joyful and loving spirit mom had. She had the same strength in belief of Jesus and it just shone through to everyone she met. Even on the days where she could barely lift her head, her words were always of comfort for the person she was speaking with. Thank you so much for this precious reminder. And you know, Bobbie even looks a little like her with her short white hair!

    Blessings,
    Catherine

  25. Ok, this song came on today and I thought it fit this week’s lesson beautifully!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OCaX4SaFRU

    • WOW! Hetaher! Great song!!! Did not know the artist but these words are great and the video with the words helped them sink in. I almost did not go listenand I’m so glad that I did! Thank you!

      “I’m running back to Your promises, one more time
      Lord that’s all I can hold on to
      I’ve got to say this has taken me, by surprise
      But nothing surprises You
      Before a heartache, can ever touch my life
      It has to go through Your hands
      And even though I, I keep asking why
      I keep asking why

      No matter what, I’m gonna love You
      No matter what, I’m gonna need You
      I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
      But if not, if not – I’ll trust You
      No matter what (no matter, no matter what, no matter)
      No matter what (no matter, no matter what – no matter, no matter what)

      When I’m stuck in this nothingness, by myself
      I’m just sitting in silence
      There’s no way I can make it, without Your help
      I won’t even try it
      I know You have Your reasons, for everything
      So I will keep believing
      Whatever I might be feeling
      God You are my hope, and You’ll be my strength

      No matter what, I’m gonna love You
      No matter what, I’m gonna need You
      I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
      But if not, if not – I’ll trust You

      No matter what (no matter, no matter what, no matter)
      No matter what (no matter, no matter what – no matter, no matter what)

      Anything I don’t have, You can give it to me
      But it’s OK if You don’t
      I’m not here for those things
      The touch of Your love is enough on its own

      And no matter what, I still love You
      And I’m gonna need You

      No matter what, I’m gonna love You
      No matter what, I’m gonna need You
      I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
      But if not, if not – I’ll trust You
      I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
      But if not, but if not, I’ll trust You
      No matter what (no matter)
      No matter what (no matter, no matter what)

      No matter – no matter what
      (No matter – no matter what)
      No matter – no matter what
      (No matter – no matter what)
      No matter – no matter what”
      { From: elyrics }

      I run from my conflicts, circumstances, etc. so this is perfect for me. I try to RUN TO GOD and don’t run to worldly stuff like others (anymore) but sometimes when I run to Him, I do not sense His Presence and then shame sets in… or some other obstacle, but usually related to unworthiness (so we’re right back to last week’s video and lesson)… I Run to You and Find You On my Knees

    • Great song!

    • Great song

    • Thanks for sharing! Heather, you always find the perfect lyrics.

      W

  26. What if, as a Cheistian, you did receive a trial and you did reasonably well spiritually, but the second time around you failed miserably? I feel that I have failed my ” obedience test” and God has removed Himself from me. No matter what I do I can’t seem to get back to Him.

    • God is always with you Jan, even though you don’t feel His presence. I used to think God would be disappointed with me every time I messed up till I read Psalm 139 especially verse 15 Psalm 139:15 NKJV “My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” God knows you, He sees your heart, He knows your thoughts even before you think them so you cannot fail when it comes to Him. Yes, we fall but the good mews is that saints are people who fall but rise up again, Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. So don’t worry, cheer up, ask God to forgive you, forgive yourself and rise up again!
      May God bless you and keep you, may He cause His countenance to fall upon you and be merciful to you. From now on and forever. {hugs}

    • Sweet Jan, I agree with Olayinka and thank her for encouraging you through God’s Word.

      God’s promise in Romans Chapter 8 says He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. He created us, and He knows the weakness of our frame. He knows we will disappoint Him and disobey Him. He has great patience with us. What He cares about is a repentant heart…one that desires to repent and return to walking on obedience for Him. If you feel far away from Him, it is a lie from the evil one who wants you to feel unworthy and unforgiven. God has forgiven you!!! Return to Him, Jan. Return to His Word so that He can fill you with TRUTH about how He loves and forgives you and how He will help you with this place of disobedience. YOU WILL BE VICTORIOUS because He promises that when we seek Him with all our heart, we WILL find Him.

      Love,

      Wendy

  27. The Daily Prayer from Gloria Copeland seems to go with Part F. at least it’s my prayer for today:

    “Father, I glory in what Christ Jesus has done for me. I let go “put aside all past sources of my confidence” counting them worthless, in order that I may experience Christ and become one with Him. I unfold my past and put into proper perspective those things that are behind. I trust in You, LORD, with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge You, and You will make my paths straight. Thank You, in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
    (Letting God of the Past, Prayers That Avail Much Commemorative Edition)

    Hey Wendy, this must have been a rough week for you, too … I noticed that you still have this as Lesson Two and I’m pretty sure it’s Lesson 3 (lol) :0) , I’m having a rough time doing this lesson on Trials SO THAT …(think the enemy is at work in trying to keep me away) from having strength to face trials when I thought I was doing so well… then I read this* (and a flood of the past came back) froze me, paralyzed my thoughts and continued reading … and I’m sure this was so long ago
    that I had confidently walked past this, resolved, forgiven, etc. “done deal” then it surfaces again and WHAM (does that happen to you?:

    “I see this in my own story. After my attack, I asked God what I had done to deserve what happened to me. I cried myself to sleep more nights than not. I felt abandoned by God. I locked myself in a prison of fear to protect myself. At times, daily living seemed too much to bear. Yet out of this trial …”

    I did have a time of ministry after mine happened the second time around as an adult and instead of me ministering to women (or victims) as I had thought God had me face praying and speaking with former rapists through a crisis phone line center as a phone prayer counselor/director/speaker. I was sure I had passed through this trial and healed.

    Then when I got to your part F. with “circumstances” paragraph … once again.

    This stood out among many great Truths intermingled …

    “God’s faithfulness is most effectively learned when experienced.”

    I’ll try to soak in this but I know this… I’m just weary and battle fatigued again, in need of His strength BECAUSE I’m so tired of experiencing trials … I tried reading comments and I feel so burdened and weighted down when I read others trials and even the little daily trials. I wanted to pray for them and I just couldn’t … I pray this will pass, because I truly do want to go on and LIVE SO THAT… guess I’m succumbing to the stress, and inability to do anything in my current trial except PRESS FORWARD and PRAY. Pressing in to PERSEVERING but somehow it does not seem right, that reading about similar thorns of others would resurface old wounds in me, if they were healed, shouldn’t I be able to stand in confidence and trust?

    Sorry to all of you that need prayer, my heart is wanting, but my mind and fingers are not cooperating but I did lift your name to God’s Throne and place you and your trials in His more than capable hands. Have faith! Stay close to God and surround yourself with people like Wendy and this OBS (in Jesus Name and the power of His Spirit, I humbly ask…)

    Peggy

    • Then I listen to a song like Heather shared or open an email that shares this and I know that HE HEARS, HE CARES, HE’S THERE and HE KNOWS WHY:

      Maybe these words will help YOU Wendy’s OBS sisters in Christ:

      I Will Lift the Veil

      My Beloved,

      I know some times you feel as if there is a veil over your eyes. There are many things you won’t understand about this journey, but one day I will lift that veil, and you will see that I had a plan and a divine purpose for all you have walked through in this life.

      One day I will touch your cheek and wipe away the very last tear you will ever cry. One day you will see Me face to face, and heaven and earth will no longer keep us apart. For now, My beloved, I give you My Spirit to guide you every day, and I command My angels to stand guard over you until the day of My return.

      Love,
      Your Eternal Prince

      ~
      “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
      ~1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)~

      from His Princess Bride
      by Sheri Rose Shepherd
      Read more at HisPrincess (dot) com

    • TRIALS come SO THAT …

      I learn to persevere and my faith is increased and strengthened through God’s Word, Christian fellowship (which in my case is “sisters in Christ” online) even with Spanish fellowship, serving, loving and living beyond the trials, praising and proclaiming that without Jesus I am nothing, He is my everything!

    • Peggy, I do identify with your weariness. Persevering is so very hard. That is why God tells us that He is the Strength of our heart and our Portion. He knows there will be days when we feel we just cannot put one foot in front of the other. And, alone, we cannot!!! But He can do it for us. Give Him your burdens each and every morning…turn them over never to pick them up again. Pray for them but surrender them. I know you k now that He will be faithful!!! He is our BURDENBEARER. He is our ALL IN ALL. I pray He will be that for you today, Peggy. You have blessed us with so much wisdom. We will bless you with prayers today.

      Love,

      Wendy

      • Thank you Wendy! Thank you so very much!!!

        Heavenly Father, Abba … thank You for Wendy’s words and her sweet reminders.
        You are so faithful! Thank You Lord Jesus for being our Burden bearer! I even sense a new lightness as I type that to You! Thank You, Lord that You carried our burdens. Thank You so much that we can cast all our cares on You and You take them. Thank You that Your strength is new every morning. I’m so grateful that even today I posted on “Strength for Today” and then my precious sister Wendy speaks Your Word and hers of strength into me. I lay down these burdens and give them to You, with hopes that I can leave them at the altar and not take them back or linger in any pity or pit. Thank You for raising me out of so many pits. You are so worthy!!! of all my praise and thanks giving. Guide my steps each day, help me to put one foot in front of the next and lead me through the valleys to the heights to seek You first with all that I am or have.
        Indeed, You are everything! You are my ALL in ALL! Thank You Lord for the anointed words of Wendy! Pour back into her and give her a double portion of blessing for all of her teachings, prayers, encouragements and words that she has shared with me and each one here. Bless Wendy and fill her up to overflowing with more of You! I’m so glad that You are God with us and I do not do any of this alone… for You are Immanuel!!! I praise You! I love You! I thank You and give thanks for Wendy and all the prayers on my behalf. Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your strength, comfort, wisdom and peace, that I may be a vessel that You would pour through to others as Wendy has done for us… in Jesus’ precious name, I pray …

        I’m not done with trials but I’m gonna move ahead with “LIVE so that…” and maybe come back… not sure that I want to… but will listen to what God says and obey

        Love and many thanks,
        Peggy

  28. Wow Bobbie and Wendy, an incredible lesson this week, your voice Bobbie is soothing and comforting and your words encouraging. I loved your Good-bye song. With tears in my eyes I headed for the shower and turned your good-bye song into a good-night song as it is something I used to love at bedtime with my kids. It goes like this….

    Good night our God is watching over you
    Good night the morn’ will bring His mercies new
    Good night our prayers will be surrounding you
    So good night He loves you we do too.

    Just thought I’d share!

    Peggy: thank you for your words of encouragement and direction last week as my family trial is raging on and the atmosphere around here is toxic. This may be the weekend we are forced to make other living arrangements for who – I am not sure but we can’t continue to live under these conditions all are being affected and hurt by the battle. So, thank you.

    Asking for prayer that our family will make a decision that will be pleasing to God and be a step in the direction of healing and hope.

    kareng

    • Lord, You say that when Your Word goes out, it accomplishes what You desire… it will achieve the purpose for which You sent it. Wendy’s study this week is speaking into ALL of our lives, whether it’s on life’s greatest trials, such as the case for Kareng… or whether it’s life’s day-to-day trials which Jill spoke of. Abba, let the Words You sent forth specifically for Kareng take deep root in her heart. She has her mind set on You, and You say You will direct each of her steps. Place Your hedge of protection around Kareng and her family. Show her on practical levels each step she needs to take. Give her ears to hear Your voice. Give her courage to take each step. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

  29. Thanks to both of you for sharing in the video this week. I was days behind in the study, sat down to listen this morning, and cannot express how timely this post was.
    #1 – A dear friend from church is struggling with cancer. I posted this on FB and will let her know to watch. She had just posted that she needed prayers; wasn’t sure she could this “this” (chemo, etc) and am hoping your post will give her encouragement.

    #2 – My only daughter is pregnant (first time!) and I would really like to give her the “Mom’s Bible” – if possible, let us know where we can find it.

    Blessings to you both.

    • Jackie! A HUGE congratulations!!!! I celebrate your upcoming Grandma status with you!!! If you go to the end of Wendy’s post under “My Call to Action,” she has two links (in blue). Like you, I’m so excited to get that Bible! xo

    • How exciting that your only daughter is pregnant! Bobbie’s Bible will be a wonderful gift!! Please let me know if you have any trouble finding it. And thanks, Noelle, for pointing out the links in the post.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  30. Stephanie B. says:

    Wendy,
    Thank you SO much for you and Bobbie’s message this week! WOW…What a blessing! I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma over 2 years ago and am today, cancer free…PRAISE JESUS! Bobbie speaks the truth in her message and it was such a blessing to hear today. Wendy, I’m so thankful for your faithfulness to write these Bible studies and to teach. Last week’s lesson was amazing and I sure wish I lived closer to you so I could attend every week. Thank you from the bottom of this grateful heart for leading people to our Precious Jesus. I pray God’s continual blessings upon you!

  31. When God created Martha, I’m wondering if there was leftover cloth that He used as He began creating me 🙂 If the enemy attacks me, it typically comes in a form of tempting me with busyness. So, when I’ve faced trials throughout my Christian walk, I’ve gotten busy! I’ve lived by 2 Corinthians 1:3-5:

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

    I’ve taken that as a life mission… to quickly endure and get through my trials so I can comfort others. I’m an action-steps girl. But, Wendy taught me that within those 3 little verses, God uses the word “comfort” FIVE times. This week has challenged me to draw near and to rest and receive God’s comfort… to dwell in His intimacy… to just BE with HIm… before I go out on my mission to help others.

    I KNOW that I’ll be revisiting these pages of my journal for a lifetime. What an incredible study. Thank you Wendy!

    • I take COMFORT in your words and prayers Noelle! Beautiful! Love the testimony and encouragement you gave above to Cheryl and oncology nurses, which would include any compassionate care givers in hospice or in general.

      I guess I was trying to say that above too, that I avert, or get BUSY, or avoid, to escape the trial. But you have shared it so much better and blessed us with these words and God’s Word once again! Thank you!

      Off to Spanish action and service for the day! Love to all and keep pressing forward.

    • Thank you, girl!! I too am a BIG time Martha!!! I feel I have so much to learn about control and surrendering my circumstances to the Lord. I want to control and fix so things will be “back to normal.” I SO love His Word that helps bring me to a place of surrender when everything in me wants to do the exact opposite.

      Thankful for you today!!!

      me

  32. I just want to say that I loved the video lesson, the homework, the song that was posted (wonderful), and the words to the Confession. Everything was so encouraging for the different things that I am facing in my life. I have shared in the past that I have a spreading neurological disease that causes me a lot of pain and I am unable to write any more, but I can type so I was so happy to have this Bible study format, where I can type the answers. I also type notes as I listen to the video lesson. Bobbie’s story (I actually did the homework and then listened to the video) was additional encouragement after I finished the lesson as I deal with this rare disease, to continue to trust God and I appreciated the practical ways of doing that. Wendy, it is obvious that you put so much work and thought into the lessons, and I appreciated your many comments throughout the homework. I highlighted many in bold.

    • Savannah, your words bless me so….it means so much to know that God uses this study as an avenue for you to be in the Word and have fellowship with sisters in Christ. I pray for God’s healing balm to wash over your body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes today…to relieve you pain and to heal your disease. He tells us His Word is health to our body and healing to your bones. I pray this verse over you today!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  33. Well, is anyone else feeling like God is giving you opportunities to apply what you are learning? Friday was that day for me…it wasn’t because anything bad happened or because I received terrible news…it was a day I started out feeling like a failure as a wife and as the minutes ticked by I felt the same about my role as a Mom. For years I struggled with depression and though I’m one others say has the gift of encouragement, I rarely speak uplifting words to myself. Honestly for quite awhile I’ve fought off the depression but Friday one bad thought, better yet lie, entered my mind and the floodgates were opened. I was feeling defeated, worthless and ready to quit. In those moments Heb. 10:35 would come to mind and God would remind me I was throwing my confidence away. That would help but after awhile satan would attack again and knock me down. Thankfully that night I pulled my study back out and there was Hebrews 10 again. God spoke to me about my trial, the one that often takes place in my mind. How perhaps this is something I will never overcome or defeat, but instead may be a thorn in my side that makes me rely on HIM, go to the Word and use the sword!!

    All of this has reminded me of something our pastor shared years ago about trials – we must Expect them, Endure them, Embrace them and Enjoy them. Easy words to type, a bit more challenging to do, but when I’ve applied these 4 E’s I’m more prepared, I’m more likely to turn to God and I have peace as I walk thru a situation I’d never choose.

    One final thing…as Friday came to a close I was grateful for how God brought His word to mind as I felt myself falling into the pit. He was answering my prayer to provide the words I needed to hear, but this morning during the children’s sermon I realized God was doing His part, but I don’t always do mine. In an attempt to teach our young people to ASK God for what they need our pastor shared he had gummy bears and all they had to do was ask and he’d give them one. As this took place I heard little ones say the words and instantly hold out their hand and God whispered to my heart, “Jill, you are getting better at asking, but you are not always ready to receive.” It’s true, so in the days ahead I pray I will open my hands and heart to receive all God has to say…

    Thanks so much for this study Wendy and for all of you and the comments you share…amazing how God can speak in so many different ways using one topic. He is BIG and He is good. Looking forward to what next week brings.

    • Jill, thank you for sharing from your heart today and being so honest. You do have an AMAZING gift of encouragement. You have been a huge encourager in my life. I pray today that the Lord will REMIND you of your preciousness to Him and how He created you and loves you and has a great purpose for you. I pray you will see yourself through His eyes and not the world’s and not your own. And I have never heard the Four E’s. Thank you so much for sharing them. I know they blessed me today.

      Love you,

      Wendy

  34. This is another great song that I heard today, fits our lesson
    LAURA STORY – BLESSINGS

    We pray for blessings
    We pray for peace
    Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
    We pray for healing, for prosperity
    We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
    All the while, You hear each spoken need
    Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

    ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears
    What if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know You’re near
    What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

    We pray for wisdom
    Your voice to hear
    And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
    We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
    As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
    All the while, You hear each desperate plea
    And long that we have faith to believe

    ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears
    What if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know You’re near
    And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

    When friends betray us
    When darkness seems to win
    We know that pain reminds this heart
    That this is not, this is not our home
    It’s not our home

    ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears
    And what if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know You’re near
    What if my greatest disappointments
    Or the aching of this life
    Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
    And what if trials of this life
    The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
    Are Your mercies in disguise

  35. I’m behind and I just finished this second lesson today, but God had a plan and a purpose in mind. He knew when I especially needed this lesson. I have been having trouble these past months with depression and lots of post traumatic triggers. Just when I think I’m getting past it, an overwhelming sadness blankets me. This morning, even after reading in God’s Word, that deep downhearted feeling was pulling me down. Then I decided to work on this lesson, and through it God has reminded me again that His grace is sufficient for me and His glory and power are displayed more through the thorns in my life, including chronic illness. I don’t always see or feel the “so that” in them, but I need to trust His plan.

    Wendy, thank you so much for following your heart in doing this Bible study and reminding me that “unanswered” prayer isn’t always due to our lack of faith, but that it’s because God has another plan – a better plan. Thank you for using past pain in your life to help others who are in pain.

    I pray that each of you may experience deep joy, love, and peace in the miracle of Jesus’ birth!

    • I pray the same for you!! May He shine His LIGHT brightly into your heart and home this Christmas season and into the New Year!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

    • Ohhh Trudy, I just came back to finish up with TRIALS so that I can move on to this week’s lesson and was wondering if anyone else was behind or trying to catch up or lingering back here in the TRIALS … (that’s the good thing about online Bible studies you can go your own pace, but just don’t stop…keep going especially as you battle depression). I have been there and I’m so sorry that you have been struggling these past few months, chronic illness and dealing with post traumatic triggers (been there too). And I’m so glad that as you did the lesson that God SPOKE so that you saw God and His amazing Grace as being sufficient. Cuz it really is! I don’t always see and I most often do not feel the “so thats” either, so thanks for being honest. I appreciate that and also what you shared about Wendy’s reminder that unanswered prayer isn’t due to lack of faith (guess we’ve both heard that) (sigh) but because God has a BETTER plan. I’m praying and agreeing with you for this, this week and this season. God is not finished and He desires so much more for you and wants you to press on, draw closer to Him, lean on Him and allow Him to help you and carry some of this heavy burden you bear as He lifts you up on eagles’ wings to soar, not an overwhelming blanket of sadness but a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness/despair… and beauty for the ashes (in my case) and the thorn of chronic illness and any others for you. He wants to give you HOPE and plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. He wants you to rely on Him, yes, just as you wrote, trust in Him, lean not on your own understanding, or feelings or the seen… but begin by seeing the Light of His love pouring down into you SO THAT you “may experience deep joy, love, and peace in the miracle of Jesus’ birth!” and know without a doubt He is with you “Emmanuel” … He has come to breathe new life and power into you, too … strength when you are weak, His power, His comfort, His Joy and His love when you do not sense it but receive it and proclaim it even when you don’t or can’t feel it… cuz you know it and you need to hold on to the Truth and let it set you free!

      Many blessings and thanks for that pray I quoted from you and your own words, I receive them and now you should too!!! Praise God! Rejoice! Shine sister Trudy!
      Jesus is our Light! Look to His Light and look to His Star! Keep your eyes on Him (and off the problem(s)
      Peggy

  36. Thank you so much for your loving encouragement, Peggy!

  37. I started the study late as I was finishing up Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued study with some girlfriends so my comment on this lesson is coming a bit late….but perfectly timed by God! I’ve struggled with the Christmas season for 12 years since my mother in-law passed away. She was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and after going through surgery and chemo treatments she was in remission. I won’t go into all the details but three years later she ended up back in surgery with some complications and ended up passing away Dec. 23, 2000. Listening to Bobbie’s testimony of God’s provision, in her cancer journey especially, was powerful! Thanks for having her share, Wendy! And thank you, Bobbie, for sharing your heart and the comfort with which you were comforted. May God continue to strengthen you and use you as you impact others for eternity. God bless you richly!

  38. Thank you for the fresh perspective on trials.

    I especially appreciate the example of Jesus at Gethsemane and that praying for God to change our circumstances does not reveal a lack of faith, but a cry to our Everlasting Father and Comforter.

    Paul’s words that “Christ’s power may rest on me” are meaningful to me. It’s not just God resting in me, but me resting in Him. When I was being treated for bladde cancer and was so worried about my family’s future, I could feel that comfort of resting in His hands. It was a sense of peace and joy that no matter what, God was taking care of me and my family. It was a deeper level of trust that gained. I might not have experienced this “blessing” without having to go through this “trial”.

    In our Advent study this past week, we discussed how trials are a “blessing” from God who is training us to be His hands and feet for others who will be facing their own trials. God has chosen us for a special purpose and is refining us to do it. It is an honor and He will be with us in every step. We are helping to bring His Kingdom to this world.

  39. I greatly struggle with my sinful past. I was a sinning Christian. I had been baptised, brought up in a Christian home, went through catechism and in my teenage years fell into rebellious behavior which of course lead me through many sinful years. After I met my husband in my early 20s my heart was pulled back to Jesus. Since then I have struggled terribly with the knowledge of the indiscretions in my past. I also feel as though I am being pushed toward ministry by the Lord … this is my struggle…I feel as though my sinful past may have been in His plan for me to minister to others who have sinned (I know everyone falls short of the glory of God but this is so hard for me therefore this could help others who struggle with forgiving themselves and the knowledge of the Lord’s forgiveness) but it is also the biggest reason I have so much fear of standing up and saying this is what I did. I do not want to shame my family…my husband and children…so I have resolved to study until the children are older and grown. I just feel so unworthy to work for the Lord. My husband is a wonderful man and very loving but he lives by the belief that men and women are different and therefore my sins are worse because I am a woman in the eyes of society …this truly breaks my heart and fuels my shame. I struggle just writing this because I love my husband and family so much and do not want to hurt them but I need to get this off my chest. I seek and find refuge in the word but the lies that I am not good enough and that I am a worse sinner than others just seems to over power my soul. Thank you for these studies. Hopefully someday I will be stronger through the truth of the love of Christ! I know I am forgiven by the Lord (which is the most wonderful and beautiful gift and the absolute word on the matter) but what about myself, my husband, and the world? The trials in my current doubt and in my past are definitely keeping me humble and blessing me by driving me closer to my Lord Jesus but I do want to feel stronger and stand up in His truth. Thank you again for letting me join in on these studies…they are so filling. I am digging so much deeper than ever before. Sorry for commenting on this lesson (I know we are on the last week but the lessons in these verses just speak to my troubled heart.)

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