Onward I Face

Angel Watch David Meier
Angel Watch
David Meier

Truth appears, a vapor of smoke.

Cheer swirls and bounds. It shrivels and chokes.

Words ring true, but soon dispel.

Wings rise above, but a heavy heart swells.

The cloud of abandon thunders and cries.

My adversary slithers, whispers and lies.

Why have you forsaken me?

Understanding, my hopeless plea.

Abba, do you weep for me?

I am covered by a cloud of seas.

Widows mourn. Children thrive.


Out of the soothing sea I dive.

Grass and leaves and snow I loathe.

Scaly soul and thistle clothed.

Time taunts to terror me forever.

Dreams of sun I will to endeavor.


Dawn brings dew, waning deep slumber.

Light excels the mighty Shadow’s number.

Sun beams above. A beckon. A calling.

Shadows disperse, gnashing and appalling.

Tall Taunt wriggles, with loss, with dismay.

The adversary withers, to naught, to decay.

Carrion struggles, then lessens, and ceases.


I knit together my innards, my pieces.

Arise new dove with fierce eagle’s wings.

Lift toward the heavens. Allow your soul to sing.

Moonlight and dawn, they gleam embrace.

And I seek tomorrow. Onward I face.

Keep going.
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Stop Saying The “Christian” Things

Several years ago, a woman I knew who was in her third trimester of pregnancy announced on Facebook the very heartbreaking news of her miscarriage. In my attempt to express my condolences to her, I said something like, “I’m so sorry! But remember everything happens for a reason.”

Upon reflection, I loathed myself for uttering that statement.

In that moment, did I for some reason think those words would actually help? There isn’t a mother with good conscience that would be able to think of a good reason as to why her child died. While my intent was to comfort, I am sure I did not comfort her.

“Everything happens for a reason.”

We can’t explain every reason for everything. Sometimes words aren’t good enough and your shoulder to cry on is all that is needed. Sometimes a simple “I’m so sorry this happened” is all that is needed.

One argument is that there is a reason for all things because God is in control and he has a plan. I believe with all my heart God controls everything and has a plan for us, but we don’t know his plans. We don’t know his ways.   *Ecc.8:17

There may very well be a reason – a reason only God knows. But why do we tell the suffering that everything happens for a reason? Pride. We want to show we know the answer. We want to prove we have faith that doesn’t waver.

“You should come to my church.”

I can’t count the times this has been said to me, mostly by people who know I already go to church. I don’t see anything wrong with inviting someone to church if you know they haven’t found a church yet or if there is an occasion at your church and you would like to invite them. What I do see as wrong is the implication that the other person’s church is better. That person’s church is “right” and the other person’s church is wrong. (Honestly, my first instinct is to become angry at people who say this to me: Why do they think they can act that way towards me? They don’t have the right to look down on me. They shouldn’t act like my church isn’t good enough – like I’m not good enough. I shouldn’t be so angry though. That is a sign of pride within me that I should work on and the Bible tells me I’m not to be so easily offended *Pr. 19:11.)  I tell you the truth, your church will not save you; your love and devotion for God will.

“Love the sinner; hate the sin.”

We’re all sinners. All of us. When people say this they are usually implying that the “sinner” they are speaking of is SUCH a terrible sinner. This person must be terrible, right? But since I am a Christian I should love them. I used to join in on saying this phrase until I realized just how hypocritical it really was.

Why do we say the things we do? What is our motive? Each of the things I listed above can easily be listed under the motivation of pride. Pride gets in the way of many things. It prevents us from expressing the real love of Christ and showing others what a true example of Christianity looks like. Do we say certain clichés because we know of nothing better to say? Maybe it’s best to say nothing at all; maybe this is a time to let our actions do the talking. Also, if we realize there are things we don’t have a response to, perhaps this is a time to realize we may need to research the topic and become more educated and prepared for the next time. Our words have weight. We should choose them wisely. The next time we say anything to anyone, we should always stop to ask ourselves: What is my motive? The real answer may shock you.

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The Tongue: Slander & Gossip (Bible Study)

What does the Bible tell us about how we use our tongue? Can it truly cause damage to others? We shouldn’t speak evil of others. This is something most of us are taught from a young age. It may seem like a simple topic, but have you ever really examined it on a deeper level? Hopefully this study I came up with can give you a new or deeper perspective on the matter.

This is a One-time Session bible study. Below are the printouts for you to download and print at home.  This bible study can be done in a small group or individually.  However, I would advise doing it in a small group. I believe you can gain more perspective that way.

***If you wish to do this individually, download and print the MEMBER PRINTOUT.  1.) Answer all the questions on your own.  2.) THEN reference back to the LEADER GUIDE to compare with my answers. 3.) Color-code the scripture on your printout based on the Leader Guide.  ( I based my color-coding off of Courtney Joseph’s Bible Coloring Chart from womenlivingwell.org. <— I love her resources.   I made sure to include her chart at the bottom of the Leader Guide for reference.) Also, be sure to underline any phrases/words I have underlined.

Slander-Gossip-Bible-Study-LEADER-GUIDE-1

Slander-Gossip-Bible-Study-Member-Printout

^ Open the document after downloading, click Enable Editing, then print.

When doing this study, keep in mind the fact that I am an average person, more than likely, just like you. Many of the things I learn are based on my thirst for knowledge of God’s word and digging into scripture to find answers. I am not All-Knowing, but God is. Be sure to start this study with prayer and ask God to open your eyes to the message you need to receive from it.

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Discerning False Teachers

When I was in the first stages of my Christian walk, I somehow had the idea that everyone who claimed the title of “Christian” really had biblical values and acted as the Bible instructed.

 

Hahaha…. Ha.

 

Nope.

 

In my hopeful ignorance, I expected any time I went to a place where the foundation was laid upon biblical standards (churches, Christian bookstores, bible studies, Christian organizations, etc.) everyone would be joyful, welcoming, wonderful. We would all be happy in each other’s company and sing Kumbaya. This isn’t the case.

Soon after this “epic” epiphany also came the realization that not all teachers of the faith were TRUE teachers of the faith. Some are false teachers. These will lead you away from Christ, not closer to him. They listen to the influences of the devil and focus on worldly things – not the things the Lord wants us to focus on, which are things from above (Col. 3:2).

I recently posted a status on my Facebook account attempting to call attention specifically to the “prosperity teachers” (Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, etc.) The reason I spoke against these people was because they sound like motivational speakers more than Christian leaders. The sermons I heard from them revolved around how you feel, how you can gain things, how you can be happy……. Not really much at all about God. Do you remember the story of the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness? Do you remember how he tried to convince Jesus to worship him? The devil offered Jesus things – worldly riches. He tried to convince Jesus to focus on himself.

Am I saying it is evil to have riches? Am I saying these people intend evil? No, not necessarily. It isn’t bad to have things. These people may or may not be convinced of their own deceit. Every man is right in his own eyes (see Pro. 21:2). For all I know, these people may honestly believe they are doing a good thing, but regardless, by definition they are false teachers. They do not focus on God. They focus on self.

How should we discern between the teachers? How do we know if someone is leading others astray?

The only true way to learn the ability to distinguish between righteous and false leaders is to read and study the bible for yourself. You can sit in church and listen to the preacher – but if that is all you do, there you are at Square 1, unmoving, unable to discern for yourself whether or not this guy knows what he’s talking about. We are told to study to show ourselves approved (see 2Tim. 2:15).  1John 4:1 says – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Matt. 7:15 – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits

2 Tim. 4:3 – For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

Galatians 1:8 ESV – But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Colossians 2:8 ESV – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Question: Is your preacher, devotional, or TV sermon preaching about God and how we can better serve Him or are you being taught how to better serve yourself?

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Melancholy

I open my eyes only to see darkness. I tilt my head upwards to see a faint stream of light coming in from far above me. My palms sweat. A chill runs up my spine.

I’m in a pit.

A cold, dark, lonely pit.

I cry out but no sound forms on my tongue. My mouth is parched, my lips cracked. My head pulses and swims. I feel dizzy, heavy. My legs are sinking, pulling me down. I feel bitterness and despair. Suspicion and pain. Overwhelmed. Melancholy.

Not only am I in a pit, I’m in a cage within the pit. The bars are unbreakable but they start to cave inward. They come closer and closer, readying themselves to crush me. I feel the cold metal, impersonal and indifferent, press against my skin. Squeezing me. Cold metal fingers spiraling around my neck. Choking me. My soul cries out, screams for relief.

I blink. Metal fingers recoiling, I reassure myself.

There’s a pit inside my brain – a war within myself. It’s dark and ugly and it will consume me if I let it.

From time to time, I give myself over to melancholy. I let hurt and resentment fester inside my heart. When I let it take root, it multiplies. For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve been the girl who felt “too” much. I felt a bad feeling and let myself dwell on it for far too long. I wore my heart on my sleeve and cursed the universe when it got bruised.

Morbid, I know. I did call it a war.

I used to tell myself Christians ought to always be happy. Christians should always be smiling. I bought into that lie. That deceptive presentation of perfection. The honest truth is: no one is happy all the time. Would we be human if we were? We were born with emotions – human feelings. I, for one, feel them deeply, even though I so often convince myself I have no feelings at all. Life is hard. It can be brutal and treacherously so. There are so many wars I’ve had within myself, I couldn’t begin to list them all. In this life, it is an absolute truth that things will happen that will take my happiness away and make me feel sad. Does that make me Godless? Does that mean I don’t really have Christ in my heart?

There is a difference between being happy and being joyful. Job, a man devoted to God, was probably more than depressed when the Devil stole his possessions and murdered his children. Was he godless? No, he held onto God. He had questions and quite a bit of despair, but he never let go of God.

I remind myself to have joy in the Lord, because when I have joy in Him, does anything else really matter? Even though I may feel hurt and despair, can I not also at the same time experience joy? Life is painful. But life is beautiful. When I feel hurt and despair, I am forced to look beyond myself. I am forced to see things I might not ordinarily see. I’m pushed to lean on strength that isn’t my own.

 

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If One Wins, We Both Lose

There truly is no “I” in team. When I married my husband, I entered into a sacred covenant with him. I left my father and mother and my husband took me under his wing as his partner in life. As partners we are one team. When we took our vows, individuality ceased. Sure we are different in many ways; we still own our individual traits and characteristics that make each of us unique.

However, as a team, we ceased “working solo.” As a team, we are one. It is no longer I or he – it is WE. Our living arrangement, finances, decisions, considerations, plans, and grocery shopping lists got thrown into one big pot called Marriage. There isn’t a pot on the left for Marcus and a kettle on the right for Kyla. ONE big pot.

Many Christians could read what I just wrote and tell me that is common sense. Of course we are taught that a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves unto his wife. Of course a husband and wife do everything as a team effort once married. However, what many of us so often forget is the same principle also applies to our emotions, our conversations……. our arguments

If one spouse is feeling unloved, unfulfilled, or trampled on in some way, the entire marriage is suffering. You both lose. If one spouse values his/her feelings and opinions over the other’s – You both lose. Once a person dies to her singular life and gives herself over to marriage, everything becomes more about the greater good of her marriage and less about Me, Myself, and I. Isn’t your spouse more important than than having the last word? Doesn’t your marriage feel more satisfying when you both feel as though the other considers your feelings?

We are all human. We make mistakes. We have differing opinions. Sometimes we have to choose our battles. Sometimes things do need to be discussed because someone got their feelings hurt or maybe you don’t see eye to eye about a certain decision. Before you continue “hashing it out” ask yourself if you are expressing your concerns – Or are you just trying to WIN? 

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

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Ranting: It Does Ugly Things To Your Face

How many times have I been offended? I can’t be completely sure of the number. I am sure it has been quite a few times. We all have been offended, hurt or displeased in some way or another.

How many times have we ranted and complained about the situation or person that we found offensive? Most of us, if honest, would say more times than can be counted.

Maybe you are reading this and thinking, I’m not so bad. I don’t type long paragraphs on social media. I don’t walk into the grocery store and vent to everyone I come across. I don’t…

If you don’t do those things, you are heading in the right direction.

However… the Bible tells us “a fool multiplies words…” and “Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich…” –Ecclesiastes 10: 14&20. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up…” –Ephesians 4:29

Regardless of how it is done, or who it is spoken to, a rant is still a rant. Whether it is spoken publicly or in private to a close friend, the action is still the same. The contempt within the heart is still the same. I have from time to time, vented to my husband about certain things that bothered me. On occasion during my rants, I would notice his apparent unease. He would become seemingly uncomfortable and his temper might flare. I would become confused, then upset and angry. Why is he getting upset? I’m upset. I’m not fussing at him – I’m complaining about ___! I’m the one with the problem here. My real problem was the fact that I was making a problem of the problem. I was inflating it – puffing it up larger than life. Even though my curt words weren’t aimed towards him, they were upsetting simply because they were curt. My words, my voice, my body language were all very unsettling and unpleasant. I would go further to say: not ladylike at all.

Isn’t it easy to see how unpleasant it is when someone else has a bad attitude – when someone whines and complains loudly in a public place? It is very easy to see. It doesn’t seem nice at all, regardless of their reason for being that way. People don’t like unpleasant, negative attitudes. Rudeness begets rudeness. When we see or experience negativity, it makes us feel negative. It is so easy to see and point out how “ugly” someone is when they rant or have an obvious attitude. Shouldn’t we be just as aware whenever we do the same? We should. We shouldn’t justify it or lay blame. We should simply apologize and try our best to correct the misbehavior. And that is just what it is – misbehavior. It is rude and childish. Since I’ve become more aware of how ranting affects others and tried to work at correcting this behavior, I’ve realized how hard it truly is to keep my negative thoughts to myself. It is very difficult! It is something that has to be practiced daily. Practice make perfect. I attempt to constantly remind myself to question: Is this nice? Is this helpful?

Speaking “only such as is good for building up” shouldn’t be taken out of context to mean we should never have confrontation. It just means we should confront well. The fact that we shouldn’t rant doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t talk about things at all. I shouldn’t say, “You are such an unbearably miserable and rude person!” to the person who offended me. I could say, “I don’t think that was a very nice thing to say.” Many times, the way we word things and our tone of voice can make a huge difference. However, there may be many times where we simply have to learn to choose our battles. Not everyone is willing to listen to reason. Sometimes confrontation isn’t necessary and we have to let it go. Other times, “building up” not only means cheerful words of encouragement but also kind words of discipline. It may mean confronting a loved one about an ongoing misbehavior because otherwise they wouldn’t be aware that they are misbehaving at all. This is where we have to pray for discernment. In everything, ask: Is this encouraging or helpful? Is it necessary? Is this the appropriate time and place? Am I simply talking to a trusted friend about something that is bothering me or am I complaining, ranting, slandering? Are my actions and words stemming from love or contempt?

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; – 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5

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Remaining Ladylike on Facebook

  1. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything. Sometimes less really is more. In the social media world, it is so easy to share without thinking things all the way through. One example could be of someone still searching for Mr. Right…… Maybe you’ve gone to dinner with a few guys throughout the year. By the book, you’ve met the guidelines for good, clean, accountable fun. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’ve let Facebook know every time you hang out with someone new, it can really give others the wrong idea. Not only that, sometimes when people find out about something new, they can ruin it before it has a chance to even develop. Whether we like it or not, people will be people. They will talk. They will have opinions. Although it would be wrong for them to judge you and jump to conclusions, you wouldn’t be helping yourself by freely letting them in on everything either; You would be hurting yourself instead.

2. Don’t brag. Constantly posting pictures and statuses about the things you have comes across as prideful. There are times and things that we get very excited about and really just want to share whatever it is. It’s okay to share so others can join in on the excitement – Just be aware of how you come off. Moreover, we are responsible for how we affect others. Sometimes, showing off everything can cause a keeping-up-with-the-Jones effect. There are certain things you may just need to post so that close family and friends can see.

3. Don’t rant. I used to do this all the time. Then, after studying over a few Proverbs, I realized how foolish it made me look. It’s so easy to get caught up in emotions and vent. Unfortunately, you can’t erase things from people’s minds; You can only erase your status. Unless you actually have a point you are trying to express, (something meant for good) don’t write a short story on social media. Spreading negativity about others or situations doesn’t help in any way. It doesn’t fix the problem. Beyond that, we have to remind ourselves that not one of us is perfect. We have no room to put others down.

4. Don’t respond to rudeness. If someone is cyberbullying you or criticizing you, ignore them. Chances are, they treat others the same way. Retaliating will only escalate things and it brings you down to a level in which you don’t need to be.

5. Don’t be rude. Everyone has opinions but we shouldn’t always say whatever crosses our minds. Is your comment helpful or uplifting? Think about how you would feel if someone said the same to you. Keep in mind your “tone” as well. Since we type on social media instead of speaking, things can be taken the wrong way. This is something I’ve been trying to be aware of during text messaging as well. Sometimes a matter of fact response can be taken as curt and rude since the other person can’t hear my voice. It’s important to think about how the other person may interpret our tone.

6. Do think before you tag/upload pictures of others. Some people are more private than others and may not want to share certain things. They may not think it looks flattering and hate that certain picture of themselves altogether.

7. Do say thank you. If you post something and someone gives you a compliment or something of the like, give them a response. They took the time to tell you that you “look so pretty!!!!” so don’t make them feel unappreciated by ignoring them. If you are well known and have received comments by the masses, at least send out a general Thank You to everyone. However, when it is possible to make it personal, do so. If there is one thing people remember well, it is ingratitude.

 

 

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Are You Born Again Or Just Religious?

What does it actually mean to be a Christian? Does it mean going to church a certain amount of times per week? Does it make you a Christian if you do certain rituals or say certain things? Is it how “good” you are?

I actually think this is a big problem in the Bible Belt – where most everyone knows about Jesus. Why is religion vs. being born again such an epidemic in the Bible Belt? It’s a part of our culture. Most of us were raised in church. Many think that if you know who Jesus is and go to church on Sunday that makes you a Christian. BUT if this were the case, the devil himself would be a Christian. Doesn’t he know God? Hasn’t he been in his presence?

Being a born again means you now have Jesus in your heart. You FOLLOW him and his word. You have a relationship with him.

Does knowing who my husband is (like knowing Jesus), living in my husband’s house (like going to church), and sleeping in his bed (like doing rituals & traditions) make me a good a faithful wife? No.

Having a loving and trusting relationship with him does. I do things for him out of love. I make decisions based on that fact. Am I going to see just how much I can get away with without him resenting me? No! Then, why do that with Christ? It’s not about how far we can get without crossing a boundary. For instance, I wouldn’t commit adultery against my husband because I wouldn’t want to lose him or his trust. I also wouldn’t purposefully lust after other men because I would know in my heart that I was sinning against him. But how would he know if I stared too long at another guy’s muscles? Why should I care? I could totally get away with it! If I caught myself in an episode like this, I would turn my head because that is being unfaithful. I have a RELATIONSHIP with my husband. My affection is for him and him alone. I know this in my heart and I wouldn’t want to pig-headedly do anything that would hurt him. That’s how we should also be with Christ……… Not I can do A, B, C, D, etc., and still keep my status as a Christian (or wife)…….Not I can do A, B, C, etc., and that will make me a good Christian (or good wife.) My works are worthless if my heart isn’t in it. That would be just going through the motions.

Matt.19:16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

These things ^ set us apart as Christians. Every single one of these things stems from the heart. Would I murder my neighbor if I had love for him/her? Matters of the heart reveal themselves in our actions.

Jesus said to follow him and we will gain salvation.

Jesus didn’t say: “Do the rituals of your church and you will be saved.”

“Chant this phrase relentlessly and you will be saved.”

“Make yourself look like everyone else in your church and you will be saved.’’

“Go to church __ amount of times and you will be saved.”

“Remember __ amount of bible verses and you will be saved.”

The above statements are directly in line with how a Pharisee acts. 

Jesus said to follow him. He didn’t tell us to go through the motions. He didn’t tell us to set our human standards and pridefully point out all the things we do “better” than others. Legalism won’t save you. Jesus cares about where your heart is.

Isaiah 57:12 I will expose your righteousness and your works and they will not benefit you.

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

 

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Building Character During Trials

James 1:2-5, 12 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:2-18 is written under the heading Testing of Your Faith. In context, testing of your faith means persecution. However, if applied to daily life and the various trials that people go through, how many can say that their faith hasn’t been tested by experiencing a certain life trial? Yet, James says we should be joyful for trials…….. What?

He tells us that when we go through trials, our faith, our very being is tested. If we hold tight to the foundation of Christ, while going through a trial, we develop steadfastness, which is a big Bible word meaning firm in purpose, unwavering.  As Paul said, our endurance produces character (Rom.5:4). Our goal for character should be to move in the direction of perfection, to be like Christ. (Although we can never be perfect like Christ, we should never stop trying to get that way.) James says whatever we lack [in order to be more like Christ], we should ask for it. As much as we don’t like the thought of it, our trials can be teachable moments. We just have to keep our eyes and ears open.

Sometimes, we may experience trials that were brought forth by our own actions. Foolish behavior may have produced a sour situation. We can learn and grow from our mistakes. Other times, we can experience trials because someone else has made a bad decision and we experienced a painful situation as a result. We all know it: life isn’t always fair. (Speaking of testing your faith, does “Why God?! Why me?!” sound familiar?)

In these situations where someone has caused a trial in your life, I urge you to steer clear of the pity party. I know that’s much easier said than done, but you can’t change the past. You can’t rewind and neither can they. All you can do is move forward and look for whatever lessons you may gain from it. Pain really does teach you things.  If you lean on God, trials can change you for the better. I’ve experienced this myself. There were moments where I felt so defeated, so crushed, and just like that, I changed. Some of the most crushing experiences I’ve ever been through have taught me discernment, loyalty, forgiveness, hope, kindness, perseverance, and gratitude. I am calmer, more even-tempered, slower to judge others, and more eager to listen. Those trials strengthened parts of me that were weak. If I am “lacking in wisdom” as James stated, God may very well use my trial to allow me to gain wisdom.

How does one become a great warrior? From having an easy life? No.

A great warrior is built from battlefield experiences.

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