2 Corinthians 3:2

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men. 2 Corinthians 3:2

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

His Grace Is Sufficient

 Each human being has his or her own cross to bear. Living in a fallen world exposes us to all manner of heartbreak, sorrow, illness, and tragedy. None can choose what particular burdens to carry. It is like a high stakes card game. We can play only the hands we each have been dealt. We cannot trade cards with anyone we feel has a better hand. The cards we have, we must play with accordingly. We do have a choice. We can learn to manage our lives around our challenging cards,  or we can refuse to play at all. Carrying gamely on with our lot in life, and seeking God’s help throughout the struggle is what obedience looks like. Allowing the struggle to beat us down, and refusing to play is the ultimate disobedience. All the cards were chosen by God for each particular person to accept and learn to live with in obedience to Him.

Life challenges are never easy and sometimes they bring take us to the brink of death and despair but we are never alone in the fight. God is always there to help us stand, and walk through whatever we are facing. No matter how hard we believe the crisis to be, nor how weary we become, God is right there and He is saying, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

The apostle Paul, one of the greatest ministers in the first church, had his own cross to bear. Scholars are not sure exactly what limitation or physical ailment Paul struggled with throughout his ministry, but Paul called it a “thorn in his side.” He wrote in 2 Corinthians that three times he asked God to remove the thorn. Three times, God answered, “My grace is sufficient for you.” If even a great minister like Paul was subject to hindrances in life, should believers today expect to be exempt from them? To look at these trials from a spiritual perspective, instead of a human one, we come to see that God uses each hardship to build our character and to bring about His will in our lives. No sorrow or struggle is wasted. No cry of pain or despair goes unheard. God is hard at work during those dark moments shaping us into the image of Christ, and preparing us for His heavenly kingdom. His grace truly is sufficient if we will take His hand and abide in His presence and He wants us to do.

John 16:33
 I have said these things to you, that in me you
may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

No matter what befalls us, God is there. No matter what political ugliness or natural disaster we see in our lifetime, God is there. He is in control, just as He has always been. Nothing happens without His knowledge. Nothing ever will. God abides with us as a husband does his wife. The Church is the bride and Christ is the bridegroom. One day soon, Jesus will come for His bride and we will be called out of this sinful and sorrowful world, and taken with Him into eternal joy and peace. We must be patient. God’s grace is sufficient for each of us until that wonderful day!

Dear Heavenly Father,
I praise You for Your goodness and Your faithfulness in abiding with us through all the trials and suffering we find here in this fallen world. I know I am never alone, not even in the darkest moments. I thank You, God, for the assurance that one day You will send for me and bring me to Your side. I long for that day, but until then, I will live in obedience to You.
In Jesus’ name, I pray.

Karen Butler Ogle

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

When Fear Surrounds Me


I believe that all human beings have moments of uncertainty and fear during their journey through this fallen world. I am no exception. I am approaching a circumstance I have visited before in my walk. I am facing homelessness. I have the advantage of knowing what to expect, but the abject terror I feel in weak moments is not relieved by familiarity. God will abide with me through whatever comes, just as He always has. I remind myself of this whenever panic grips me. In the weakness of my heart, I pray for God to take me home to heaven. He hasn’t and deep down, I know that He has a purpose for me and that all things happen in His timing. God is always good and I will praise His goodness no matter what happens. The new season ahead will surely be fraught with challenges and loneliness, but I will not be alone. My Father will be with me, lifting me up when I fall, and carrying me when I am exhausted. He will comfort my hurting heart and dry my tears. He will surround me with His presence when I am lonely. No, I will not be alone. 

Karen Butler Ogle

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A Great Big Lie


Based on the scripture above, one might ask: If nothing in life is more than humans are capable of handling alone, then why do we need God?  I have walked through dark circumstances during my life that might have ended very badly, had I not called out to God. At times, circumstances cause such anguish and despair that it is difficult not to contemplate an intentional end to life. God loves each of us. Every day, He walks beside His children. The Bible says He is omnipresent. If that is true, how can anything bad happen?

The world is chaotic and volatile. It jeopardizes not only our relationship with Him, but also our physical and mental safety. As a free-willed creation, humans often turn from Him and go their own way. God can and does protect His children, according to His will, but He does not spare us all suffering because He wants each of us to understand our need for Him. That need seals the salvation of all who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. The first chapter of Peter says:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Satan is the enemy of God, and his entire existence is ruled by the desire to destroy and deceive humanity. It is Satan's strategy to pervert scripture in such a way that it gives incorrect perceptions of Who God is and how He relates to our human creation. A wrong perception of God can lead to feelings of betrayal and distrust. Lies do not come from God, no matter how convincing they may seem. The Bible is the Word of God. Absolute truth comes from Him and from His Word. There is no lie in God, however, both Satan and humans are capable of lying. Take care not to be deceived. Whenever anything from any source seems out of character for God, make sure to check it against the Bible's Truth. Christians, both ministers and laypeople, have said that God does not give humans more than they can handle. While it sounds good and comforting, it isn't true. The verse mentioned at the beginning of this post has been misinterpreted by many through the years. Many have claimed that this scripture assures us that God never gives a person more than he or she can handle. What is actually started is that one cannot be TEMPTED beyond their capacity to resist. Every person is tempted in some way today, as Christ was tempted in every way while walking the earth. Scripture should not be taken out of context to suit something it wasn't meant to promise, especially to new believers who are still learning about God. Such misunderstandings can permanently damage believers' perceptions of God. Can humans experience emotional trauma, grief, despair, and physical pain beyond their capacity to cope? Without a doubt! It's a sad reality! The world is filled with corruption and evil. The state of the world has remained unchanged since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden. You need not be afraid. God has promised never to leave His children alone, even in the midst if strife.. For each of us, he is a constant presence, a constant comfort, and a formidable ally. 

It is because God desires intimacy with His creation that He is omnipresent in the lives of humans. Ultimately, He wants us to depend on Him for love and guidance. In return for His sacrifice and provision, He wants our love and trust.

 It is true that God does not spare His children from even the worst worldly traumas, but He does promise to walk beside us, and if necessary, to carry us through the difficulties we face. The Lord is strong enough to bring us through each trial safely. All that is required to ensure His constant presence and support is trust, humility, and acknowledgment of our need for Him. 

Dear Heavenly Father,

I ask you to please give me discernment in reading Your Word. Satan is a liar and he seeks to deceive and destroy. I know You are stronger and have already defeated Satan. Please help me to recognize Truth when I see or hear it. Let the Holy Spirit bear witness within me when Truth is uttered. Let the Holy Spirit warn me when any deceiver is near or when any claim I am exposed to is a lie and not of You. I trust you with my safety and life.

In Jesus’ name,


Karen Butler Ogle

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Epiphanies, Revelations, And Ah-Ha Moments


I have only been calling myself a writer for a few short weeks. I wouldn't miss this experience for the world. It has already been an incredible ride. Although there have been ups and downs and stressful moments since I started, it has only fueled my desire to write. So far, I have had no trouble finding words or something to say. My God is right beside me on this adventure, and I can't really speak for Him, but I am loving it! It's unlikely that any of this would be possible without God, and I do believe that He is all I need in this world and my only desire is to serve Him well for however many years I have left.

 Late last night, I was struggling with the use of "YOU" and "I" and became utterly confused and frustrated. After God intervened, I suddenly realized that the whole piece would be better without any "YOU" or "US" or "WE" statements and only minimal "I" statements. The major player in any devotional is God and everything included in it should point to Him. A devotional is FOR Him, ABOUT Him, and seeks to draw others TO Him.  In light of this writer's revelation, I realized that my previous devotionals and Bible studies could be improved. As I considered this, I realized I don't want to set a precedent of revisiting old pieces of writing every time I learn something new. Resisting temptation is not easy. The reality is, mistakes can't always be undone. Learning from them and moving on is part of the process. Adding salt to the same soup will eventually turn it into an inedible mess. Therefore, I will leave well enough alone and move forward. My writing style has been refined as a result of God's guidance

Karen Butler Ogle

Saturday, April 15, 2023

No Longer A Spirit of Fear


Most of my life has been spent in varying degrees of chaos. Even when external elements are calm, the inner landscape of my mind is at war. You see, I have Schizoaffective Disorder. By definition, “Schizoaffective Disorder is a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia and a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder.” Just like anyone else, I have good days and bad days. I struggle through whatever comes each day. I was diagnosed in 2003, a year after the death of my father. Losing my father sent me into a spiral of grief that was almost insurmountable. I spent a full year in a psychotic daze. In that false reality, my dad was alive and came to me daily. He talked with me. He sat with me, just being present. He took me to places in his past and showed me things that weren't real. I called these times “dreams” but actually, they were visions of a grieving mind where a little girl pretended her father was still alive, and she was still safe, and the world was still manageable. After a year, I was unable to tell which of my worlds was real. I was hospitalized, diagnosed, medicated, and then sent home to learn to live with a new “normal.” I have experienced severe depression and anxiety attacks since childhood. At age 60, I am still receiving treatment for depression and mostly stable emotionally and mentally, despite my diagnosis. Despite the fact that my illness is ongoing, I want to make it very clear that Schizoaffective Disorder does not define me. I am a human being like any other. I laugh, cry, love those around me, and carry on living the best I can. What does define me is that I am a woman of faith and a Bible-believing child of the living God! 

Each human will have their own difficult roads to traverse. Each one will be tested and tried and challenged according to God's will. One of my challenges just happens to be a mental illness. It affects me almost daily, but it does NOT defeat me. It has not caused me to lie down or give up. Why? Because God the Father has me in His hand. His love heals my chaotic emotions even though He allows this illness to be a part of my life. The more I am in God's presence, the more healing I feel. He has me. I have Him and no matter what might come tomorrow, His love will see me through. Living with an illness like mine can be challenging. Over the years, I have been hospitalized several times. I have been on medication since my early 20s and receive treatment on a monthly basis. Some days the emotional anguish is unbearable. Some days, I pray for God to take me home. Some days I am not in a state adequately at peace to be around others. On those days I isolate myself and spend as much time as I need in prayer and meditation. God gave each of us a mind to find what works for us. Any obstacle, like a mental illness, can be worked around and beyond. First, I had to accept that the illness I am facing, is not going away. God can use hardship to accomplish His will for my life, though I may not see it or understand His purpose. After accepting what IS, I had to learn to trust that God loves me. He will walk through it with me, and He intends all things to work together for my ultimate good. He became to me the father I had lost. He was already my Father, as He is Father to all, but until my breakdown, I hadn't known that in my heart. I trust my Father to hold my hand through whatever life brings my way. He has already proven faithful to His promise.

Karen Butler Ogle

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble


Sometimes I wonder if I am a proud person. I often credit only myself with the things I have accomplished, even when I know God was involved. It is not surprising because human beings are a proud people. We have also learned to be a stubborn people. The Lord God even called His chosen Israelites “a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 32:9 ESV) Since the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, humanity has chosen again and again to embrace pride and forge their own way ahead, even when it was blatantly against the instructions of God. Do you think humans have changed much since the Old Testament days? Personally, I don’t think we have. I confess that, too often, I seek my own way instead of asking God for His guidance. Too often, I take credit for things I know I could never have done without God’s help.

Proverbs 16:18

“Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

The admonition in Proverbs 16:18 is absolutely true. I have tripped over my pride many times throughout life and fallen face first on the ground. It is preferable to work at keeping a humble heart than take a humbling fall from the high place of pride. As with so many worthy aspirations, humility has to be worked for, because pride is the default human nature.

Isaiah 66:2

“But this is the one to whom I will look:
    he who is humble and contrite in spirit
    and trembles at my word.“

God loves a humble heart. A humble heart is a teachable heart. A malleable and changeable heart is necessary to grow spiritually and in faith. God is constantly sending or allowing events into the lives of His children to draw them closer to Him.  Closeness to the Father is needed to serve Him in a  meaningful way. More than anything, I desire a true servant’s heart. Daily, I battle my own inborn pride in an effort to be of use to God and to those he sends across my path.

Having a humble heart helps inspire obedience to God the Father. Understanding that He is omniscient and wiser than humans helps accomplish obedience. He knows the right and perfect path for each person. In order to be obedient there must be trust in His wisdom and goodness. Obedience brings blessings and peace. In 2 Chronicle 7:14 God says, “If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” What a promise! Becoming humble before God is a necessary part of an intimate relationship with Him. God has not changed from the time of the Israelites. He is still approachable. He will still respond to a humble heart. He will still forgive sins and heal lives

Allowing humility before others is not an easy task. Humility goes against the fleshly human nature. Our society perversely teaches from childhood that pride in self and accomplishments is desirable. Having pride in a name, a gender, a nationality, or intelligence is the norm in the world today. Pause and remember that nothing is random. Everything about humanity is intentional. God made all with intent to serve Him. No “accomplishment” is achieved completely within human control. God is the source of identity, gifts, talents, and even the value of all His children.

Dear Father,

I come before You as a being a little lower than the angels. Nothing about me, in or of myself, is worthy of pride. Everything I have and everything I am is because You created me exactly the way You want me. Help me, Lord to humble myself before You and my fellow human beings. Help me to serve in the way You think best. Help me to serve others according to Your will. Remove any leftover bits of pride from my heart, Lord, that I might be useful to You.


Karen Butler Ogle

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Solemn Saturday

It is very difficult to explain how I feel on this Solemn Saturday...the day between death and resurrection, loss and hope, grief and joy. Throughout Holy Week I think most believers feel the whole range of human emotions. I know I have been on a roller coaster ride through guilt, gratitude, sorrow, rejoicing and utter awe at the love Jesus has for us. That he allowed Himself to suffer such indignity, physical pain, and death for us is part of the mystery, the shadowy plan God has for His human creation.

My background might be a bit different from most believers. I was raised in church from birth and was called to accept Christ at the age of 7. Knowledge and understanding of my sinfulness came at Sunday services while the invitational hymn was sung. “Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way. Thou art the potter. I am the clay…” I wept and a short time later asked Christ into my heart. 

My time of running and rebellion didn’t come until later, as a young adult in college. I gave in to temptation as young people will but I had that foundation with Jesus to help me through the adversity and bring me back into fellowship with him. It’s impossible for me to remember much about my feelings and behavior before I accepted Christ. I feel like I have always been a believer. I don’t remember a time when I ever doubted that the bible is truth and God is present. 

I don’t mean to say that my faith has never been tried or tested. I have been through some terrible experiences through the years but no matter what difficulty came, God stayed faithful and just and loving and He walked with me through each dark valley. On Solemn Saturday I am remembering when Jesus walked through His own dark valley. Alone, in excruciating pain, humiliation, and suffering death, He walked through that valley carrying our lives and the weight of our sins. Our debt is paid. We owe nothing. But the very least we can do is give Him our love and gratitude and follow His example and teaching. This is my quest for the rest of my life...to serve the One who saved my life and my soul. To God be the glory!

Forever and ever!

Karen Butler Ogle

His Grace Is Sufficient

 Each human being has his or her own cross to bear. Living in a fallen world exposes us to all manner of heartbreak, sorrow, illness, and tr...