This website came to be...
out of grief, loss, bereavement,
and betrayal disguised as a gesture
In other words... we experienced
"The Judas kiss."
Often, foes disguise themselves
Evil often wears a mask to conceal its true purpose.
Satan possessed Judas in hopes of using him
to destroy Jesus’ ministry and get Him out of the way,
and Satan used a kiss... a sign of affection...
to unleash a surge of hatred.
Judas was one of the original twelve disciples
who followed and was taught by Jesus.
Being in Jesus’ “inner circle,”
Judas had a closer relationship to Jesus
than most people during His ministry.
Judas betrayed Jesus to the authorities.
The pre-arranged signal was that the person Judas kissed
was to be arrested and taken away to be crucified
Judas used such an intimate expression
of love and respect to betray Jesus.
For a student who had great respect for his teacher,
a kiss fell well within the healthy expression of honor.
When Jesus was betrayed with a Judas kiss,
He identified with the troubles of David,
who wrote, “If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
But it is you, a man like myself, my companion,
my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed
sweet fellowship at the house of God,
as we walked about among the worshipers”
Job’s emotional pain also foreshadowed Jesus’ sorrow:
“Those I love have turned against me”
As we all know...
betrayal can be devastatingly
piercing to our hearts and souls...
especially when the experience is
with someone we care about
or deeply love.
We have come to realize...
there can be no deeper hurt or insult
than when one is betrayed and wounded by
the very ones who professed to be
a true, tried, and trusted sister, brother, or friend.
Nothing hurts more than being disappointed and betrayed
by those we thought would never hurt us...
during our weakest season of pain and loss.
It is difficult enough
when one is attacked and conspired against by the enemy,
but when the fiery arrows come from those
whom we have loved, looked up to, and trusted...
the devastation and grief becomes magnified.
These words spoken by Jesus 2,000 years ago...
are very relevant for many believers
in the world today.
Therefore we will boast
all the more gladly about our
so that God’s power
may rest on us.
That is why we delight, by the grace of God,
in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, and in difficulties.
For when we are weak,
then we are strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
This website development was born, March 23, 2009,
from a cry... deep within our spirit.
We were wounded, hurt, and tired, however,
while in the classroom and season of our pain
we discovered blessings, growth, conviction,
strength, and purpose.
We discovered that God uses
even the most painful suffering for good.
These messages were born in prayer,
bathed in tears, and founded on the Word of God.
Some of our virtual chapters, in this website,
will touch on the trials and tribulations,
by the grace of God,
we have been blessed to pass through.
Some of our most precious lessons learned...
have been in the school of affliction.
We believe even the most terrible events
always contain hidden blessings.
We are witnessing our pain and disappointments
giving way to God's mighty appointments.
We have come to realize, through our own knowledge,
observation, and experiences...
that the afflicted can be most effective.
Tragedies, sorrows, and sufferings
can be blessings in disguise.
We have come to realize that some of the hard lessons,
which we would never want to repeat,
really are enriching our lives.
We believe some of the richest, fullest,
and most fruitful lives are those lives that have been
in the crucible of testing and tribulation.
No one on this earth is immune
from all of the different kinds of pain and suffering
that can come our way in this life.
At times, a certain amount of pain and suffering
is what God will use to help shape, mold,
and transform us.
God uses even the most
painful suffering for good.
It is our firm conviction that, in one way or another,
many of us need healing of our inner hurts.
We believe the entire universe is God's garden,
and God desires for His garden to grow,
mature, and produce.
We believe the Master Gardener,
cuts off every branch in us,
whether the branch is a person, place, or thing,
that bears no fruit...
or stagnates our growth in Him.
Rather than complaining about our pain
we are relating a little of our private lives and experiences
in order that we may help and comfort others by it.
We believe God allows us to go through trials,
tribulations, and the crucibles of life
to refine us so that we might grow, mature,
build, and solidify our faith and character...
as we learn to trust and depend on
God and God alone.
We believe suffering is not only leading us to
perfection of character,
but it is also allowing us to have a closer,
more intimate, relationship with God.
We know that God never allows any of us
to go through more than we can handle,
and we know that God will not allow us
to be tested beyond our ability to endure the test.
We have no right to believe that God will do
or allow anything to hurt or hinder our Spiritual growth.
We don't believe suffering is indicative of God's disfavor,
but of God's favor.
We believe God permits sorrow, grief, tears,
We believe that life's difficulties and troubles
are not intended to impede our progress,
but to catapult us to greater heights...
allowing us to press past our difficulties,
focus on and embrace the life lessons learned,
and get in harmony with God's Will...
even when we don't understand it.
We know God can do things far beyond
our puny comprehension.
We believe God is able to
reach down and touch the point
of our greatest need.
Through our own knowledge,
observation, and experiences...
we know God is able
to make all things right.
Joseph's brothers treated him very cruelly
and sold him into slavery causing Joseph to experience
a chain of painful, but divinely purposed events.
God caused all things to work together for Joseph's good
and bountifully blessed Joseph
in the land of his afflictions.
We know that no matter how deep the pit...
God is able to divinely orchestrate
the most painful events in our lives...
into the most beautiful and amazing experiences
we could ever hope for.
According to Scripture,
some of the greatest saints in the Bible
had to face severe adversity.
We believe God’s purpose, for our lives,
is sometimes hidden in our pain.
God's shaping, molding,
and transformation process
can be a very painful process at times;
however, some people have made their greatest strides
in spiritual development and personal growth
in the midst of their pain and suffering.
God, Our Maker,
our Master Gardener, and Sculptor
has a way of grooming, pruning,
cutting, burning, filing, buffing,
polishing, molding, and shaping us
so that we may bloom, thrive,
and totally rely on Him.
Through the seminary of affliction, we believe,
God grooms, prunes, molds, and shapes us
in ways we would have never known...
had we been left in the world
floating on our worldly egos and hot air.
We believe one can learn, grow, know, and do better
after going through the, humbling, seminary of affliction.
This process of perfecting us is not a painless task,
but it is what we need so that we might bloom,
flourish, and reflect God in every facet of our lives.
We have seen, up close and very personally,
that God is able to use our trials, tests, and tribulations
to prepare us for greater callings.
We believe tests and trials are inevitable,
and are generally temporary,
but they have a purpose, a Divine purpose
which, eventually, becomes profoundly beneficial
for others and ourselves.
We believe God is able to turn our painful experiences...
into beautiful and powerful purposes!
We also believe God is able to
turn our times of difficulty and pain
into times of sublime expression!
We know the power of God can be demonstrated
in our trials, tribulations, conflicts and adversities
and God's glory can be shown through us.
May we use our personal trials, tribulations,
conflicts and adversities
as a spring board to become much better people.
We have come to realize that the overcoming
is never the overcoming
of the one or ones who troubled us,
but the overcoming of the weaknesses
and corrections needed in our own nature...
aroused by such a one.
We believe during times of crisis
we gain insight into certain areas of suffering
that helps us to empathize and encourage others
when others are faced with similar tests.
As gold is proved in the fire and separated from impurities,
and as steel is strengthened in the smelting furnace,
so our faith can only be purified
by perseverance under pressure,
and can only be strengthened
when we learn to rely on God in times of crisis.
The "Fiery trials of life", as Peter refers to them
also serve to refine our faith.
We believe the qualities of character and righteousness
are forged in the furnace of affliction to teach us,
prepare us, equip, perfect, and purify us
for greater works.
We are God's artistry... His diamonds in the rough.
Within each person are diamond-like qualities...
waiting to be mined.
The beauty of diamonds come from the extreme pressure
that the refining process takes it through.
The same holds true for each of us.
Just as the diamond...
our beauty and worth comes from
the extreme pressures that trials and tribulations bring.
We are comforted in knowing that God's Touch
still has that same ancient Power to part
our Red Sea experiences.
Scripture has reminded us...
the same ancient Power is promised to help us, today.
That same ancient Power is able to turn those dry,
barren desert experiences, in our lives, into pools of water.
That same ancient touch...
lovingly brings us through the
rough terrain of our wilderness seasons.
For everything that was written in the past
was written to teach us,
so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures
and the encouragement they provide
we might have hope.
We have a deep appreciation for each dry,
barren desert experience.
We are grateful to God that He has allowed
the low points in our lives to unfold.
Most of us can look back on our seasons of pain
and see that we have become stronger because of them.
God's training and teaching time
has taught us well.
We count these lessons fashioned of
difficulties, trials, tests, wounds, healing, joy, and sorrow
simply as the necessary rungs in the ladder.
We realize the lessons we've learned,
through our many trials, tests, and tribulations...
could not have been learned any other way.
We have learned from our life experiences
that God is sufficient to deliver us from any trial in life.
No matter how much circumstances
may have weighed in...
we know that with God charting our course...
our scars, loss, and disappointments
are being perfected.
Through our many trials, tests, and tribulations...
we are, now, realizing and embracing
a deeper understanding of our purpose, ourselves,
and our God.
We know that "Man proposes, but God disposes."
"What the devil meant for evil,
God intended for good."
We are trusting God's grace
to move us forward.
Writing has been very therapeutic for our soul.
It has helped us to understand, accept,
and overcome quite a bit of our grief and pain.
It has also given us
the greatest sense of knowing
that our circumstances are simply
a part of our redemption story.
This project has not been a task...
only a privilege; an undeserved honor.