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I was growing weary in dealing with the bipolar episodes.  At times, I thought they would overwhelm me.  I could not see how God could bring any good out of it.  However, God was doing a work inside of me.  Instead of asking, “Why me?”, I looked to God for what I could learn through the bipolar episodes.  I also asked God for courage to face the trials in my life.  I grew by leaps and bounds as God set me free from my captivity of discouragement.  As I reflected upon my Christian walk over the past few years, I realized that God had brought goodness into my life.  This was of more value than healing the bipolar disorder.  I thanked God for making me complete in Christ.  I then had the courage and fortitude to face whatever came my way with God’s strength and courage instead of my own.


“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you”(Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV).



Fortitude is “the strength to bear misfortune, pain…calmly and patiently; firm courage” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). 


Courage is “the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave; valor” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  It is to be “bold, confident” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).


Courage and fortitude are described in many places in the Bible.  God instructs us not to fear and be of good courage.  We can then have His strength to face whatever comes our way.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV).

Read 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.  What are we to stand firm in?

Why are we to be strong and courageous?

What are we to do everything in?

We are called to be strong and courageous in our Christian walk.  Our faith in God fuels our courage.  When we look to God for help, He grants us the courage to do what is in His will for our lives.  An example of courage in the Bible is that of Joshua.  He was asked to fill the shoes of Moses.  What courage would be required!  God promised to be with him as He was with Moses.

“Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law by servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7, NIV).

Read Joshua 1:7. What two commands did God open up with?

What did Joshua be careful to do?

What would be the result?

Many times, in the Bible, God tells the people to be strong and courageous and not fear.  This did not mean that they would not feel fear but they were to look to God for strength and courage that comes from Him alone.  Courage is built up in trials.  It makes us stronger in our faith.


Courage – something we all desire to have when we face trials.  Our daily lives can seem overwhelming at times.  However, God grants us the courage to face whatever comes our way.

How would you define courage?

How would you describe fortitude in relation to your trials?

How has God granted you the strength to face whatever comes your way?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”(James 1:2, NIV).  Courage is built up in us through facing trials.  We may feel overwhelmed by the struggles, but God promises to be right there with us.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Name a trial in your life where you felt overwhelmed.

Did you ask “Why me?” or “What can I learn from this?”

How did God show His presence in your trial?

How did God give you the courage to face the trial?

How did your trial strengthen your faith?

What lessons did you learn from the trial?

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20, NIV).  Courage and fortitude are built up as we look to God to face trials in His strength instead of our own.  God is right there for us.  When we ask God, “What can I learn from this?”, God will bring us on a journey to make us whole.  Trials builds character in our lives.


Dear Heavenly Father, please grant me courage to face whatever comes my way today.  Help me to learn lessons from my trials.  Give me strength that only comes through You.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear.  Author unknown

You will never do anything in this world without courage.  James Lane Allen

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.  Winston Churchill

Courage is grace under pressure.  Ernest Hemingway

Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.  Eddie Rickenbacher



I thought I was following good morals.  However, I was far from God.  Although I was saved at the age of 8, I became angry at God when my brother committed suicide when I was 12.  I thought at that young age that God had taken my brother from me.  I shut God out of my life.  I told Him I could do it on my own.  However, that led to a turbulent life in my teen years where I had no peace.  I tried to be a good girl on my own but failed miserably.  At the age of 25, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  I was in graduate school.  I remember my legs giving out after prolonged sitting and clinging to the walls to get to the next class.  I had to take time off from graduate school.  I was devastated.  I always thought I had things under control because of getting good grades and excelling in school.  I was overwhelmed and knew I could not face this challenge on my own.  I reached out to God and He was right there for me.  It was then I could draw from His strength instead of my own.  I praised God for always being there for me to strengthen me and build me up in moral character as He helped me to discern right from wrong.


“I can do all this through him who gives me strength”(Philippians 4:13, NIV).



Moral is “relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between right and wrong” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  The principles that help a believer to distinguish right and wrong is found in the Word of God. 


Discernment is “keen perception or judgment; insight” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is “showing insight and understanding: discriminating” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).  Discernment is “said of those who are capable of discriminating between good and evil” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).


“I love you, Lord, my strength” (Psalm 18:1, NIV).  The Lord is indeed our strength.  We gain spiritual strength by following God and His ways.  Our morals are built up in Him.  We are able to decipher right from wrong as we love the Lord with all our heart and follow His ways.  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”(Psalm 46:1, NIV).

“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.  The man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1, NIV).

Read Job 1:1. Where did Job live?

How was Job described?

What did Job do?

Job was upright in his ways.  God praised him for being blameless and holding Him up in awe and reverence.  Although Satan brought calamity upon Job, he remained devoted to God despite the poor advice of so-called friends.  Job had wisdom to face the trials which came his way.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25, NIV).

Read 1 Corinthians 1:25. What is the foolishness of God wiser than?

What is the weakness of God stronger than?

God is wiser than anything man has to offer.  Wisdom can be granted to us by the Holy Spirit.  However, it is important to remember that all wisdom comes from God.  Man has no wisdom to offer on his own.  Following God’s ways leads to integrity. 

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness”(Colossians 2:6-7, NIV).

Read Colossians 2:6-7.  How are we to live our lives?

What does it strengthen in us?

What are we to be overflowing with?

We must live our lives in Christ.  When we are rooted in Him, we will be strengthened in our faith and follow His ways.  Moral strength leads to gratitude and thankfulness for granting us the blessings which follow a wise and discerning spirit.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12, NIV).

Read Titus 2:11-12.  What does God offer?

What are we taught to say no to?

How are we to live?

Worldly passions can tempt us to go down the wrong path.  We must look to God to follow Him and His ways.  God’s Word is a guide to direct our steps.  It is then we will have peace instead of upheaval.

“And this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV).

Read Philippians 1:9-10.  What should abound more and more?

How should this be done in?

What may we be able to do?

What are we to be pure and blameless for?

One example of discernment and wisdom was that of Solomon.  God told him to ask for whatever he wanted.  Solomon made the right choice.

“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.  For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9, NIV).

Read 1 Kings 3:9. What did Solomon desire for God to give him?

Why did he ask this request?

What was Solomon asked to govern?

Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment in order to lead the people of Israel.  Solomon wanted to distinguish right from wrong.  God was pleased with his request.

“I will do what you have asked.  I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be” (1 Kings 3:12, NIV).

Read 1 Kings 3:12. How did God respond to Solomon’s request?

What did God give Solomon?

How would Solomon be compared with others?

Solomon was given a wise and discerning heart.  Because he made this request, God also gave him riches that Solomon did not even consider in his request.  God desires for us to look to Him for wisdom and discernment as we make our everyday decisions.  This moral strength will lead to His peace that passes understanding.


“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always”(1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV).  We can look to God for His strength instead of our own.  On our own, we are unable to distinguish right from wrong.  However, God has given us the Holy Spirit to help in our moral discernment.

Name a time when you had a decision to make with two outcomes.

How were you able to distinguish right from wrong?

How did you look to God for the right moral answer?

How did you make the right answer?

What was the result?

The world clamors for our attention.  They tempt us with the things of the world which can distract us from our devotion to God and His ways.  We must remain on alert for the temptations of this world.  “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes” (Psalm 119:125, NIV).

How has the world tempted you to follow its ways instead of God?

What did you do?

What was the result?

Name one weak point which you must be on alert about from the world.

How did you decipher right from wrong?

How have you turned to God for help?

How did this strengthen your morals and values?

“Let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good”(Job 34:4, NIV).  Discernment helps us to decipher right from wrong.  We can be led by the Holy Spirit to walk in God’s ways instead of our own.  God has the best in store for us if we follow with moral character.


Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You grant me wisdom and discernment to follow You and Your ways.  Grant me moral strength to face whatever comes my way.  May I follow the Holy Spirit as He guides me into all truth.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


How is it that nobody has dreamed up any moral advances since Christ’s teaching?  Michael Green

Better, though difficult, the right way to go than wrong, tho’ easy, where the end is woe.  John Bunyan

Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.  William Penn

God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.  Oswald Chambers

Lord, give us faith that right makes might.  Abraham Lincoln


I always strived to be the good girl in my family.  I thrived on the praise given to me by my teachers and parents.  I thought I was good in God’s eyes.  However, that all changed one April as an adult.  It is a month I will never forget.  I had my first manic episode.  I made foolish decisions and was arrested for disorderly conduct.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself.  I felt like I had fallen far from the grace of God.  I thought that my integrity would be stained forever.  However, I clung to the thin thread of a lifeline to God.  As I became stabilized on medication for the bipolar disorder, God helped me to see the good He brought out of it, including removing me of the pride of my own self-effort.  I thought I had to be a good girl to find God’s acceptance.  However, in the end, I was strengthened in my walk with God and my integrity was based upon the grace of God alone instead of my own efforts.  God helped me to separate what I did during the manic episode from who I was as a child of God.  As I repented, God helped me to see me as He saw me.  God saw me as a woman of integrity in Christ.  God’s grace does indeed cover a multitude of sins.


“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3, NIV).



Integrity is “the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity” (Webster’s New World College Dictionary).  It is a “firm adherence to a code of esp. moral…values” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). 


“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9, NIV).  Integrity is important in a Christian’s life.  We can live upright, godly lives as we seek to glorify God and realize integrity is built upon trust in God and His Word.  We will walk securely versus the uncertainty of walking the crooked paths.

“Now this is our boast:  Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity.  We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV).

Read 2 Corinthians 1:12. How did Paul conduct in the world?

What did they not rely upon?

What did they rely upon?

Our conduct is of vital importance in our walk with God.  God alone can guide us along the right path.  We can walk with integrity and godly sincerity when we accept God’s grace instead of seeking the uncertain path of this world and its sinful nature.

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8, NIV).

Read Titus 2:7-8.  How were they to set an example?

What were they to show in their teaching?

How is soundness of speech described?

What will happen to those who opposed them if they walked in integrity?

What will those who oppose them have nothing to say about them?

Integrity should be of importance to a believer.  As we walk in the will of God, He will direct our steps.  However, when we stray from the path, our integrity is at stake.  The good news is that God is right there to restore us when we return to Him for help.


Integrity and uprightness are placed in utmost value among believers.  However, the world’s perception of integrity can interfere with our perception of integrity.  God alone can instill the importance of integrity and seeing it from a Christian viewpoint.

How do you view integrity?

Do you look to the opinions of others as a gage of your uprightness?

How has the opinions of others skew your view of yourself?

What road did God lead you on to see the importance of your worth and value in Him alone?

How did this free you from being a people-pleaser?

“May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you” (Psalm 25:21, NIV).  The Lord is our protector as our walk is upright.  Our hope is placed in God and not in our individual accomplishments.  When we look to our accomplishments for worth and value, we will always come up short.  However, when we place our hope in God, our integrity and worth is upright and of immense worth and value.

Name a time when you placed value in your accomplishments.

What accomplishments were they?

How was your worth tied into your accomplishments?

What was the result?

How did God bring you to place your worth and value in Him alone?

Integrity is based upon God alone.  We can live upright, godly lives as we seek out the treasures found in His Word.  God desires for us to not place our worth and value in accomplishments but in His grace alone.  It is then we will find freedom and His peace that passes all understanding.


Dear Heavenly Father, help me to always walk in integrity and uprightness.  I look to You alone for strength to endure my trials as well as to see myself as You see me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.  Samuel Johnson

There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.  Tom Peters

Integrity is the noblest possession.  Latin proverb

Right is right, even if everyone is against it; and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.  William Penn

The recognition of an objective moral law drives us to the belief in God.  David Elton Trueblood


I had just received the application to volunteer at a nearby hospital.  I was excited about the opportunity to serve others and help them in their time of need.  As I went through the application, one of the dreaded questions showed up:  Have you ever been arrested for something other than in driving?  It was dreaded by me because I had been arrested for disorderly conduct during a manic phase.  The charges were dropped when I was stabilized on medication.  I was tempted to gloss it over and be dishonest because I knew they would never understand about my situation and not accept me.  However, I vowed to obey my God and be honest in all my endeavors, including the bipolar disorder.  I told the truth and submitted the application.  I was turned down for the volunteer position.  Although I was disappointed, I had God’s peace in my heart for being honest.  It strengthened my character as well.


“An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies” (Proverbs 12:17, NIV).



Being honest is “being what it seems…that will not lie, cheat or steal; truthful; trustworthy” (WNW, p. 698).  It is “free from fraud or deception; legitimate…marked by integrity” (MWD, p. 596).  An honest person is “fair, right, honorable, of such conduct as deserves esteem” (Vine’s 1, p. 309).


Honesty – something the world does not hold in high regard.  For many, it is a fight to get to the top, no matter the cost.  However, God calls us to be honest, no matter the cost.  When we are honest, we will have God’s peace that passes all understanding.  “Teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve” (Proverbs 22:21, NIV).

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15, NIV).

Read Ephesians 4:15. How are we to speak the truth?

How will we grow if we do so?

Speak the truth in love – a difficult command when in the midst of a fight or turmoil.  We desire to get back at the person.  However, this is not God’s way.  When we speak the truth in love, we will have peace in our hearts for being honest and loving at the same time.

“Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?  The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart” (Psalm 15:1-2, NIV).

Read Psalm 15:1-2.  What questions does David ask in the beginning of this Psalm?

How is our walk to be?

What are we to do?

How are we to speak the truth?

When we pray for God to be present in our daily lives, honesty will follow.  Although it can be tempting to be dishonest and gloss it over, our hearts and conscience will be troubled until we speak the truth.  Honesty is God’s best for us because He knows His plans for us and will advance us as we are honest in our words and actions in our daily lives.  This develops our character.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31-32, NIV).

Read John 8:31-32.  To whom is Jesus addressing these words?

What are we to hold to?

What will we be then?

What will we know?

What will set us free?

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6, NIV).  Jesus is the truth.  As in Romans 8:31-32, we are to cling to the teachings found in God’s Word.  Jesus was completely honest and was without sin.  In this way, we can come to God the Father through Him.  God will develop strength and character in us as we are honest with Him and others.


“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19, NIV).  Honesty – something we are to strive for.  It can be tempting to speak half-truths but that is still dishonesty.  Honesty may hurt, as it did for me in applying to be a volunteer.  It is better for some discomfort now instead of tumult in your spirit for speaking lies.

Name a time when it was difficult to speak the truth.

Were you tempted to be dishonest?

If so, what was the result?

What truth did you speak?

What was the result?

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13, NIV).  Jesus did not leave His disciples alone when He left this world.  The Holy Spirit came to reside in the hearts of believers.  We have that same Comforter to guide and direct our steps according to God’s Word.  We can thank God for granting us the Comforter to help us every minute of the day when we seek Him.

How do you view the Holy Spirit?

Name a time when you experienced guidance from the Holy Spirit.

How did He guide you?

How was it derived from God’s Word?

What was the result?

We can be honest as we are guided by the Honest One.  God will guide us into all truth.  When we speak honesty, we will experience His peace that passes all understanding.  It is then we are in line with the Word of God.  Our character is grounded in the truth instead of dishonesty.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Christ to serve as an example of honesty.  Help me to always be honest in my daily words and actions.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Our lives improve only when we take chances – and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Walter Anderson

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.  Thomas Jefferson

An honest man’s the noblest work of God.  Alexander Pope

As a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth.  Thomas Aquinas

Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it.  Author unknown


I loved my Grandma Miller and I wanted what she had.  As a child, I could detect that there was something different about her.  She lost her husband as well as some of her nine grown children through the years.  She handled the losses with a quiet strength.  She had a peace about her which drew me to her.  She would answer my questions I had about God.  Even when I turned from God when I was 12 because of my brother’s suicide, she was right there fanning the dwindling flame of my relationship with God.  When I turned back to God and re-committed my life to Him when I was 25, the Bible came to life.  As problems arose, I turned to my grandmother for her strength.  She then encouraged me to turn to God on my own.  When I did, I discovered the mystery ingredient to my grandmother’s strength – character-building faith.  She turned to God for His strength instead of her own when going through trials.  In the same way, as I turned to God for His strength, my character and faith were strengthened.


“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).



Character is “moral constitution and strength” (WNW, p. 251).  It is “moral excellence and firmness” (MWD, p. 207).


Faith is “unquestioning belief in God” (WNW, p. 521).  It is “steadfast in affection or allegiance…loyal” (MWD, p. 450).  It is a “firm conviction” (Vine’s 1, p. 222).


“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12, NIV).  Character is built when one believes that God can do all things.  Faith strengthens character.  God will many times use trials to both strengthen our faith as well as our character.  When we look to God in the midst of a storm, He will always be there for us.  He will never leave us or forsake us.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).

Read Samuel 16:7. What two things did God tell Samuel not to consider?

What do people look at?

What does the Lord look at?

Samuel was assigned to anoint the next king to replace Saul on the throne.  However, the siblings which were present were not appointed king.  There was one more son that his father did not consider to bring him in…David, who was tending the sheep.  However, God looked at the heart of David and he was anointed the next king of Israel.

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11, NIV).

Read Acts 17:11. How were the Berean Jews described?

How did they receive Paul’s message?

What did they examine?

How often did they examine the Scriptures?

Why did they do this?

The Berean Jews were known of good moral character.  They were eager to hear the Good News and learn from Paul.  However, they did not stop there.  They compared Paul’s preaching alongside God’s Word.  This strengthened their character and faith because they dug deeply into God’s Word.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4, NIV).

Read Romans 5:3-4.  What are we to glory in?

What does suffering produce?

What does perseverance produce?

What does character produce?

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV).  Paul took his Christian life seriously.  He looked to Christ and His Word to follow.  In this way, he could be assured of his right-standing with God.  He was not saying this in a prideful manner.  He longed for others to follow his example of faith and character.  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philippians 3:12, NIV).


“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48, NIV).  For many years, I misunderstood this passage.  It seemed to fuel the perfectionism I had in my teens.  I thought that unless I was perfect, God would not approve of me.  However, God filled me with His unconditional love when I was 25.  I received that love and thanked God for helping me to see that He loves me unconditionally.

How have you interpreted this verse?

Do you struggle with perfectionism?

How do you interpret the way God sees you?

How have you accepted His love into your spirit?

How has this helped to eliminate the perfectionism?

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26, NIV).  We all have a choice in faith.  Either we believe or doubt God.  God will do the impossible in our lives if we believe, if it is according to His will for our lives.

Name a time when God placed a trial in your life.

How did you turn to God?

Looking back now, how did God strengthen your faith?

How did this develop your character?

“For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV).  Faith is the stepping stone to the development of character in our lives.  When we look to God in the midst of our trials, He will be there for us.  When we see a new insight of God, our faith is strengthened.  In the process, our character is developed in our lives.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for always being there for me in the midst of my trials.  I pray that You will develop my faith and character so I can see how you bring good out of my trials.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.  Phillip Brooks

Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.  Henry Clay

Character is what you are in the dark.  Dwight L. Moody

Faith is the bird that sings while it is yet dark.  Max Lucado

The essence of faith is being satisfied with all God is for us in Jesus.  John Piper


Anxiety ravaged my mind.  Everywhere I turned served as a reminder of the foolish choices I had made during my manic episode.  I was so afraid of the mania coming back.  I remember telling God I couldn’t trust myself.  It was the scariest feeling I had ever experienced.  I realized that only God could get me through this frightening trial in my life.  I cried out to God for help.  Just then, God showered me with His peace that passes all understanding.  I realized that my trust was in Him and not myself.  God gave me the strength to face the manic episode and come through to the other side with His peace.  God also promised to be there for me as I recovered from the manic episode.  I thanked God for His peace that passes all understanding.


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NIV).



Peace is an “undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict; serenity” (WNW, p. 1073).  It is a “state of tranquility or quiet” (MWD, p. 911).  Peace is “the sense of rest and contentment” (Vine’s 1, p. 464).


When we trust God with all our hearts, we experience His peace that passes understanding.  We stay content with where God has us in our walk with Him.  Peace with God directs our steps according to His will.  “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11, NIV).

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2, NIV).

Read Romans 5:1-2.  What have we been justified by?

What do we have?

How have we gained access into this grace?

What do we boast in?

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV).  Christ gives us peace that the world cannot offer us.  Peace stills our anxious hearts and grants us peace.  When we focus upon God, it gives us hope and strength to face whatever comes our way.  This is done in God’s strength instead of our own.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

Read Philippians 4:6-7.  What are we to not be?

How are we to present our requests to God?

With what are we to present our requests to God?

What will fill us if we come to God in prayer?

How is this peace of God described?

What will this peace guard?

Anxiety can rear its ugly head in our daily lives.  We can become unsettled when we lose our focus upon God.  However, He stands ready and waiting to take those burdens and give us peace in exchange.  When we have the peace of God, it gives us strength to face whatever comes our way.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15, NIV).

Read Colossians 3:15. What are we to rule in our hearts?

What are we called to?

What are we also to be?

Thankfulness and peace go hand in hand.  When we are thankful for the blessings God has placed in our lives, our focus is upon God instead of us.  Thankfulness fights off anxiety and grants us peace.


“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people” (1 Corinthians 14:33, NIV).  The God of peace is so comforting in the days in which we live in.  The hustle and bustle of the crowd is not where our hearts and minds should be.  Disorder reigns in the world but God is a God of peace.  This peace will give us strength in God instead of our own strength.

Name a time when you attempted to face something in your own strength.

How did you feel?

What was the result?

How did you leave your burdens to God?

What was the result?

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165, NIV).  When we meditate upon Scriptures, we obtain peace.  Peace is so comforting.  God desires for us to come to Him in prayer.  He is ready and waiting to give us His peace.

Name a time when God called you to do something.

How did you feel?

What did you do?

If you ignored God’s command, what was the result?

What caused you to turn back to God in prayer?

How did you obey the Lord?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).  What an encouraging promise!  Though we face trials in this world, we have His peace when we reach out to God.  Christ has overcome the world.  We can praise God and thank Him for His marvelous peace.


Dear Heavenly Father, still my mind and heart from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Grant me Your peace that passes understanding.  Thank You for Your peace that gives me the strength to face whatever comes my way.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


No God, no peace.  Know God, know peace.  Author unknown

Great peace is found in little busy-ness.  Geoffrey Chaucer

Peace reigns where our Lord reigns.  Julian of Norwich

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  Mother Teresa

It is our duty to keep the peace, as well as to keep the faith.  Douglas Wilson


I thought I had my life all planned out.  I had just graduated from graduate school where I earned my degree in occupational therapy.  I had moved from Indiana to Tucson, Arizona.  I thought I had escaped my turbulent past.  What I didn’t realize was that my past and its pain followed me there.  The anxiety crept in as I spent eleven months unemployed because I had no experience as an occupational therapist.  I realized something had to change as my debt from using credit cards grew.  I surrendered my plans to be an occupational therapist to God.  I met a woman who suggested I apply for a secretary position at the University of Arizona.  I immediately got a job there.  God blessed me there as I was in step with His plan for my life.  Little did I know at the time what a valuable position I held at the university.  Shortly after I received the job, I had to have brain surgery for my epilepsy.  The people I worked with went above and beyond as I recovered from the operation.  This increased my trust in God’s timing for my life.  I thanked God for knowing what was best for me at that season in my life as I surrendered my plans to Him.


“My times are in your hands” (Psalm 31:15, NIV).



Surrender is “to give up to another’s power or control” (WNW, p. 1460).  It is to “yield to the power, control, or possession of another” (MWD, p.1258). 


Surrendering our plans to God requires a great amount of trust.  We must trust and know that God knows what is best for us.  Although we can plan for the future, it is important to first seek God in all that we do.  Our future will look bright as we trust in God.  God has good plans for us.  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:  God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future” (Ecclesiastes 7:14, NIV).

Read Ecclesiastes 7:14. What are we to do when times are good?

What are we to consider when times are bad?

What has God made?

What can no one discover?

Good and bad times are in the hands of the Lord.  We can all struggle with this truth when we know that God has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  However, we live in a fallen world.  As a result, good and bad times will affect us.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.  ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

Read Isaiah 55:8-9.  What are not God’s thoughts?

What are not God’s ways?

What is higher than the earth?

God’s ways are higher than our ways.  He knows what is best.  The sweetness of surrendering our plans creates peace within our spirits.  We feel the burdens be lifted as we trust in God for our present plans as well as the future.


Many times, we try to figure things out on our own.  This only leads to confusion and anxiety because we are trying to do something in our own strength instead of relying upon God.  When we turn to God for His direction, we will experience peace.

Name a time when you tried to figure things out on your own?

What was the result?

How did you feel?

What caused you to turn to God for help?

What did you experience when you turned back to God?

God’s ways are indeed higher than our ways.  We will never fully understand God’s ways but He will reveal His good and perfect will for us little by little when we seek Him.  We will then be in step with God’s will for our lives.

Name a time when you asked for God’s direction.

How has God revealed to you His will for your life?

How did you respond?

How did you feel as a result?

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18, NIV).  God desires to show His children His will for their lives.  However, we must surrender our own plans and turn to God.  As a result, our trust in God will increase.  We will experience closer fellowship with the Lord.


Dear Heavenly Father, I surrender my plans to You this day.  Help me to trust in You to know what is best for me.  Guide my every step this day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.  William Booth

There can be no personal freedom where there is not an initial personal surrender.  Howard Thurman

Obedience is the Child of Trust.  John Climacus

Let us keep to Christ, and cling to Him, and hang on Him, so that no power can remove us.  Martin Luther

He rides at ease whom the grace of God carries.  Thomas a Kempis


What comes up must come down.  That was true of me after my manic episode.  After the high of mania, I came crashing down into a deep pit of depression.  Sorrow filled my heart.  I felt so alone.  I could not focus.  I could only despair.  I was hospitalized.  However, as soon as the medication began to work, a sliver of hope was given to me by God.  Little by little, the promises of God that I had hid in my heart before the depression came back to me to give me hope that this deep pit would soon be overcome.  I remember saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  God will bring this to my good.  God will never leave me nor forsake me.”  I began to believe what I was saying.  After I was out of the hospital, I thanked God for bringing the Scriptures of hope to me when I needed them the most.  This increased my trust in Him as I faced further challenges of the bipolar disorder.


“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7, NIV).



Belief is “conviction or acceptance that certain things are true or real” (WNW, p. 134).  It is to have a “firm religious faith” (MWD, p. 112).  To believe is “to place confidence in, to trust” (Vine’s 1, p. 61).


“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105, NIV).  Meditating upon Scripture lightens our path in the way we should go.  This promotes trust in God.  We can then believe His promises to be true.  God knows what is best for us and desires to guide us by His Word.  Psalm 119 is full of promises about God’s Word.

“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:10-11, NIV).

Read Psalm 119:10-11.  How did the psalmist seek God?

What did he ask God not to let him do?

Where did the psalmist hide God’s Word?

Why did he hide God’s Word in his heart?

God’s Word never fails.  We can meditate on it to get us through the good times as well as the bad.  The promises of God strengthen us to fight the battles in our Christian walk.  We can trust in God bringing His promises to us in our time of need.

“For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).

Read Hebrews 4:12. How is the word of God described?

What is it sharper than?

What does it penetrate?

What does it judge?

“For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4, NIV).  What promise and hope we find in the Scriptures!  We can praise God and thank Him for giving us His Word.  We can trust God’s Word to be true.  “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth”(John 17:17, NIV).

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”(2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

Read 2 Timothy 3:16. How is Scripture described?

What is it useful for?

What does the Word of God equip us for?

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”(Ephesians 6:17, NIV).  We can face life’s battles with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Every day, it is important to meditate upon Scriptures to get us through the day.  This strengthens our walk with Christ and increases our trust in God’s will for us.


“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5, NIV).  I used these two Scripture passages to meditate upon during a stressful time in my life.  I did not know what to do, so I turned to God’s Word to guide and help me.  As I focused upon God’s Word, He illuminated my path in the way I should go.

Name a time where you faced uncertainty in your Christian walk.

How did you meditate upon God’s Word?

What Scripture did God use to guide and direct you?

How did this strengthen you in your Christian walk?

How did this increase your trust in God?

Meditating daily upon God’s Word gives us strength in daily struggles and stressors.  We can find peace in the midst of stress.  As we trust in God and His Word, His peace that passes all understanding guards our hearts and minds.

What struggle are you facing at this time in your life?

How has Scripture guided you?

How has Scripture brought you peace in the midst of stress?

Name a favorite Bible verse you like to go to in times of trouble.

“Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws” (Psalm 119:43, NIV).  God’s promises are true.  They will never fail us.  They promote trust in God.  We can thank God for the Scriptures as the beautiful gift that they are.  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says”(James 1:22, NIV).  Once we meditate upon God’s Word, we can act upon the promises as God guides and directs our steps.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word.  I trust in Your Word.  Remind me to meditate upon the Scriptures daily.  Illuminate Your Word and help me to understand the Scriptures.  Give me peace and direction in the midst of stress and uncertainty.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Listen less to your own thoughts and more to God’s thoughts.  F. Fenelon

A knowledge of the Bible is essential to a rich and meaningful life.  Billy Graham

Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.  Matthew Henry

Some read the Bible to learn and some read the Bible to hear from heaven.  Andrew Murray

The Bible sanctifies and molds the mind into the image of Christ.  C.H. Spurgeon


God, I’m so afraid of being happy!  I prayed to God with an anxious mind.  I had just experienced my first manic episode.  I experienced a high and happiness like no other.  I also made foolish decisions like giving my money away.  Thoughts which once gave me ecstasy now tormented me.  After this episode, I associated happiness with mania.  Every time I experienced happiness, memories of the manic episode surfaced.  The thoughts kept replaying in my mind.  I was distraught and felt alone.  However, when I reached out to God for help, He told me to be strong and courageous.  I thanked God for giving me the courage to face the actions of the manic episode.  God also placed His joy in my heart.  He gradually replaced my fear of being happy with joy.  I learned that happiness is fleeting but the joy of the Lord is my strength.  Through it all, my trust in God was increased as I relied upon Him to heal my memories of the manic episode.


“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).



Courage is “the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it” (WNW, p. 341).  It is “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (MWD, p. 287).  Courage is “to be bold” (Vine’s 1, p. 134).


It takes courage to trust in God and His commands.  Many times, the trials in our lives can create fear within us.  However, when we reach out to God, He is there for us to comfort us and give us the strength we need.  Many times, in the Bible, when God is calling a person to a specific task, He tells them to be strong and courageous.  Although fear may be present, we can lean on God for courage to meet the task at hand.

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.  But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.’” (Matthew 14:25-27, NIV).

Read Matthew 14:25-31.  How did Jesus appear to the disciples?

How did the disciples react?

What did the disciples think Jesus was?

How did they cry out?

How did Jesus respond?

What request did Peter make?

How did Jesus respond?

What did Peter do?

What did Peter do when he saw the wind?

How did Jesus respond?

When Peter focused upon Jesus, he walked on water.  However, when he looked at the waves, he began to sink.  Like Peter, we can gain strength and power as we focus upon Jesus.  However, when we focus upon our circumstances, we become anxious and fearful.  We can trust Jesus to be there for us no matter what we are facing.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21, NIV).

Read Philippians 1:20-21.  What did Paul hope that he would not be?

What did Paul hope for?

What did he want Christ to be exalted in?

How did Paul describe living?

How did Paul describe dying?

We can all live courageous lives as we trust in God.  We may have feelings of fear and anxiety, but we do not have to focus upon them.  We can have God’s peace that passes all understanding when we focus upon Him instead of our circumstances.


“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13, NIV).  When people get to know us, they can see Christ in us.  Like Peter and John, they can recognize that we have been with Jesus.  This opens up the door to bring people to Christ as we step out in courage.

Name a time when fear was present in your life.

What did God call you to do?

How did God give you the needed strength to carry out the command?

Did this make it easier to follow God instead of fear the next time?

The Word of God must be hidden in our hearts.  When we take the time each day to meditate upon Scriptures, these words will come back to us when we need them.  We can trust in the Scriptures for God to illuminate them in our minds.  This gives us the courage to face the difficult tasks in our lives.

Have you made it a daily practice to meditate upon Scriptures?

How has this helped your daily life?

What recent trial caused you to reach out to God?

How did you take the time to pray and ask God for help?

How did Scripture come to your mind when you needed it the most?

What is your favorite Scripture?

How does it give you the courage to face the trials in your life?

In today’s world, it is easy to become anxious and fearful.  However, God commands us to be courageous.  We can ignore bouts of fear by meditating upon God’s goodness found in His Word.  He will give us the strength to face the trials in our lives.  We can trust in God and His Word.  “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV).


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being there for me in times of fear and doubt.  Help me to focus upon You to gain courage and strength in the midst of the trials in my life.  May I trust completely upon You to get me through the trials and become a stronger Christian because of it.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear.  Author unknown

Courage is grace under pressure.  Ernest Hemingway

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.  Walt Disney

One man with courage makes a majority.  Andrew Jackson

God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right, even though I think it is hopeless. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz


“Don’t pray for patience.”  I overheard a man saying after a church service.  As a new believer, I was on fire for God.  I wanted everything God had to give me.  I had not heard about the development of patience through trials so I prayed earnestly for patience.  It did not take long for God to answer my prayers.  I had brain surgery to take out scar tissue which had caused me to have seizures.  After the surgery, I counted the days in which I had no seizures.  I wanted to get out and conquer the world.  However, each time I overdid it, my brain would shut down and I would go limp until I rested from the activity.  This was frightening to me.  However, during the times of rest, I grew closer to God.  It took a year to fully recover from the brain surgery.  I learned patience through this trial.  I also learned to trust in God’s timing of healing instead of my own.  After this trial was over, I praised God for being there for me through it all.  I did indeed learn patience in the midst of recovering from brain surgery.


“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14, NIV).



Patience “implies the bearing of suffering, provocation, delay, tediousness…with calmness and self-control” (WNW, p. 1069).  It is “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint” (MWD, p. 908). 


Patience is a virtue.  We have all heard this saying.  Patience is developed in our lives little by little.  God is not in a hurry.  Patience is developed as we turn to God and wait upon Him instead of rushing ahead of Him.  We learned to trust in God and His timing for our lives.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31, NIV).

Read Isaiah:29-31.  Who does God give strength to?

Who does God increase power in?

What will youths do?

What will young men do?

What will those who hope in the Lord do?

How will they soar?

How will they run?

How will they walk?

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”(Romans 12:12, NIV).  We can be joyful in the midst of our trials.  This may seem impossible but when we realize that God brings good out of it, we are encouraged in our affliction to be full of hope and faithful in prayer.  Patience is developed through our times of prayer.

“If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer”(2 Corinthians 1:6, NIV).

Read 2 Corinthians 1:6. For what is distress for?

For what is comfort for?

What will this produce?

Patient endurance develops us into stronger Christians.  We grow closer to God.  Paul instructs these believers that suffering produces patient endurance.  To patiently endure is to wait upon God to act in the midst of suffering.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”(Romans 8:28, NIV).  What a promise!  In order for God to work out everything for good, we must patiently wait upon Him.  We must not run ahead of God.  When we wait upon God, His good and perfect will is accomplished in our life.


“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1, NIV).  We often cry out to the Lord in the midst of our trials.  The Bible promises that God hears our cries for help.  We must wait patiently for the Lord to act.

How have you viewed patience?

What trial(s) has God used in your life to develop patience?

How has it strengthened your Christian walk?

How have you thanked God for using the trials in your life to build you up and develop patience?

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV).  Not only should we wait patiently upon God but be patient with each other.  This can be difficult in our lives to accomplish with certain people.  However, the Bible instructs us to be patient with one another in love.

How has your patience been tested with other people?

Is there a certain person that tries your patience?

How can you display love with this person?

How can this increase your love and patience?

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5, NIV).  While we wait, we can draw comfort from God’s Word.  When we meditate upon Scriptures, it helps us to wait upon God.  We draw strength and hope from Scriptures.

How has Scriptures comforted you during times of trials?

How has the Word of God given you hope?

Write out your favorite Bible verse?

How did this Scripture strengthen your Christian walk?

Patience – a fruit of the Spirit that is developed in the hard times.  Not only in trials, but God places people in our lives which tries our patience.  However, the more we develop patience, the stronger our Christian walk will be.  “Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11, NIV).


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for developing patience in my life.  I pray for Your presence to strengthen me as I patiently endure trials in my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Waiting is God’s school, wherein we learn some of His most valuable lessons for us.  Author unknown

May I be patient!  It is so difficult to make real what one believes, and to make these trials, as they are intended, real blessings.  John Henry Newman

He who waits on God never waits too long.  Chuck Wagner

Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God’s will!  Jeremy Collier

Patience and time do more than strength or passion.  Jean de La Fountaine