2 Corinthians 3:2

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

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

Oh, So Weary…Spiritual Warfare


 The word "weary" is not one I use often but today it fits. There are times when I feel beaten down by life. Everyday burdens and responsibilities can be exhausting. Health issues can affect my energy level and endurance. Body and spirit can become weak and ineffectual. We live in a society where despair is rampant, but we cannot  allow ourselves to be defeated by it. The war between good and evil has already been won. The death and resurrection of Jesus sealed the victory for all of humanity. However, as long as we live in a sin-filled world, we will face individual battles. Some of the conflicts will be fought against unseen circumstances and entities. These will be  inexplicable and beyond comprehension. Spiritual battles rage constantly around us, according to the Bible. Conflict can even take place within the human mind as we wrestle against a fleshly nature and intrusive thoughts.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of thethe darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” 

Paul warned the young believers at Ephesus that etrials and opposition are to be expected in their walk with Christ. That warning is still relevant today we should prepare ourselves. A working knowledge and understanding of His Word, as well as a close relationship with God, are essential for preparation. While fighting these forces, each person may be affected in ways he or she might not recognize as spiritual. We can rest assured that God is present and in control. We protect ourselves with the tools He had made just for this purpose. When the battle grows long and we become tired, He renews our strength. God reminds us in His Word that He is the source of strength and perseverance through all things.

Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary;they shall walk and not faint.”  

This is one of my favorite verses and such a wonderful promise it is! We can finally trust God to keep it faithfully. Each believer receives everything he or she needs to fight. It is imperative that we study the Bible and become familiar with scripture so that we know how to use the tools God has provided. We are not helpless, nor at the mercy of evil forces. Satan may triumph for a time, he has already been defeated by our Lord Jesus Christ. With Jesus, our salvation was bought and won. The deal is done!

Ephesians 6:10-20Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” 

Ephesians 6:10-20 describes the weapons and shields of protection that God intends for us.Every weapon and shield has its own effective purpose. Although Satan and his minions are defeated, they will continue to torment those within their reach. Our battle will not be completely finished until Christ returns and banishes Satan from Earth. We must remain vigilant and wise until then. Satan would love to see us destroyed. Remember that God abides and is capable of winning any battle. If we live according to God's Word, we will have an advantage over anything that comes our way.

Dear Father,

I know by Your Word that Satan and his demons are loose on the world. I know that he seeks our destruction and our distraction from worshiping you. I know that You have already defeated him but that the fight will continue until the end of this world. Please, Lord grant me wisdom and nerve to stand firm in the faith. Let me not tire but refresh me for the battle each day. You are the protector and fortress and I praise you with everything I have.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Karen Butler Ogle


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Precarious But Not Undone


It has been a difficult day. The heat alone was enough to increase my anxiety to maximum impact. I am not a person who can tolerate extreme temperatures whether hot or cold. A medication I am on affects my body’s ability to regulate my temperature. That said, it is almost sundown and I am alive and well and cooler, Praise God! He heard my prayers and helped me through the day. Anxiety takes its toll on the body. I am really tired. However, the cool and quiet of the night is my ideal writing environment. I might rest until full dark and then try again. I did manage to get a lot accomplished this morning with help from my Father. He is so good! I hope to write more for him tonight. He is my inspiration!

Karen Butler Ogle

Monday, April 3, 2023

Brave or Foolish?


Well... I did something either really brave or really foolish. I can't say which at this time. Though I'm truly leaning toward the latter. I am a beginning writer with no published work so far. I just signed up for the First 5 Writing Challenge through Compel’s writer's training course. I won't share the details but my challenge is to write a Bible study based on the scripture I was assigned when I applied. Only 5 new studies are chosen each year. I must be sleep deprived. Oh, boy. I feel that God wants me to try this. It will either be a blessin’ or a lesson but has the potential to be both. I have until May 5th to finish and turn it in. I know God will be with me on this. Praying hard to at least make a good showing. Please pray for me! Brave or foolish? Ha Ha! Time will tell! It always does!

Karen Butler Ogle

Sunday, April 2, 2023

When Healing Doesn’t Come


I can be healed of any illness or affliction by God. Any disease or disorder, whether mental or physical, can be cured by him. Is there a reason why He doesn't? Why does God allow humans to suffer? The question has been asked for centuries by believers and non-believers alike. The God of the universe allows terrible, life-altering diseases such as cancer, schizophrenia, and AIDS to strike people. The destruction and death of our fragile bodies is allowed by him. A volcanic eruption, destructive storms, and earthquakes are allowed by him. There are many horrible ways in which people suffer and perish. With one hand, he could heal the world and halt any catastrophe before it unfolded. Is there a reason why He doesn't? There is no simple answer, and not everyone can accept it. A place without disease or suffering, a place without natural disasters, has already been created by God. Jesus has prepared Heaven for His followers at the end of human life. Our world is filled with sin, but heaven is completely free of it. The disease-ridden and chaotic world we live in today is a result of human disobedience and sin. Heaven is untouched by sin because God cannot look upon it. Through Jesus' sacrifice, all sin was erased from those who believe. When God sees humanity He sees a veil of purity that covers us with the blood of His Son, Jesus. We would remain lost to God if Christ's blood hadn't been shed.

When God chooses, He can heal us. It is difficult to understand why He might choose not to.Why would God allow cancer or other life-threatening illnesses if he is loving and caring? As God sees ahead, he knows how affliction will affect every individual. The ability or knowledge to see the future is not available to humans. The Lord does. It is possible that God's plan may be fulfilled through sickness, injury, or loss in one's life. A person's illness might play a critical role in their development. No one can predict how trials will shape the days to come, and it is at these moments that trust in God's inherent goodness is put to the test. Trusting the Creator fully means knowing that anything He allows will be for the ultimate good.
  Every affliction will be healed in heaven, according to the Bible. This promise is found in God's word in Revelation. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev.21:4) Healing then is not a question of IF, but WHEN. In the same passage, we are given an insight into what heaven will be like.  If Satan had not succeeded in introducing sin into the world, the Earth might have been close to heaven. It is important to remember that Satan brought SIN and evil to humanity. Sin brought illness, disease, and sorrow. The responsibility does not lie with God. It was not His intention to cause sorrow to His children. While seeking forbidden knowledge, the first humans ignorantly chose to sin. There was no turning back once that doorway was opened. Until Jesus returns, sin and evil will exist. Although some afflictions are horrendous, God can use them for good. Thankfully, God is forgiving and offers a way to find healing and reconciliation with Him. The bridge to salvation is Jesus Christ. There is always hope for healing and eternal life when we accept Jesus as our Savior. It may take longer than we expect or want, but God will bring healing in His time. There is no need to despair. The Lord hears every prayer. According to His plan, He will answer. 

Dear Father, It's so hard to understand why you allow illness, suffering, and death to exist.  The healing I seek from You does not come. It's difficult to comprehend why something stays Your hand. I see only a tiny portion of my present life but you can look down through the years to see the whole plan at once. You know what trials are necessary for the transformation. You know why healing must sometimes be withheld. Please help me to trust Your knowledge, Lord. Lord, help me to trust in Your goodness and love. Father, please walk beside me through whatever circumstances you allow.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Karen Butler Ogle

The Priceless Gift of Suffering

Romans 8:16-17 

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Have you ever suffered? Though a serious question to ask someone, I believe, most people would answer yes.  During my almost 60 years of living, I have suffered in a variety of ways. I’m fairly sure that is true of anyone who reaches my age. It would be quite remarkable to reach our golden years without ever having suffered at all. Life is fraught with all manner of pain, sorrow, grief, loss, and illness. It is a rare person, indeed who has lived his whole life without suffering. During my personal seasons of difficulty, it was a temptation to take offense or become angry with God. Someone in pain will sometimes seek to blame God for their misfortune. While this is understandable, God is not the culprit and does not deserve our resentment.  

                                     1 Peter 4:12-13

“ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

 Those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God may initially think His followers should be spared the worst of life's tragedies. However, the presence of hardship is necessary in our spiritual growth. Because we are heirs with Christ in eternal life, we are also heirs in His suffering. Does it make sense that God the Father, who allowed His beloved son to die an ugly, horrifying death on the cross, would spare his adopted sons and daughters similar suffering?  No. It doesn't. There will be humiliation, illness, heartbreak, and physical death before Christ comes again. Are we better than Jesus, that we should be protected when he was not? No! We are not. We are merely human as Christ became for our sakes. We are equal heirs and therefore share in His inheritance. Because we are equal we also share in the hardships, trials, and tribulations that He suffered. Though this is hard to accept, we must welcome the earthly strife as the great gift it is. With our suffering comes the evidence that as heirs with Jesus, we are promised the gift of eternal life with Him.

In the books of the New Testament, the writers warned us time and again that suffering is something we should not only anticipate, but that we should rejoice when it comes. The first disciples knew from Jesus Himself that all His followers will partake not just in his resurrection, but in his death as well. 


Throughout our lives, after we have chosen to serve God, He will actively mold, shape, and chisel away rough edges. He will painfully conform us to the image of Christ. This may seem unfair or frightening, but imagine it! Becoming the image of the only perfect man who ever lived! The image of Jesus, the beloved Son of God! What a joy! What a wonderful promise! Yes, there will be pain and sorrow, but what a reward awaits us someday for our faithfulness! We can rejoice and rest in the knowledge that someday our patience, perseverance, and service to God will be answered with life eternal. In the above scripture James 1:2-4, we see that suffering, though difficult at the time, is actually a precious gift. It changes us into what we could never be without God’s transformative power: the image of our savior. Romans 8:2 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son.”

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the difficulties you send into my life. Though I may complain or cry during the hard places, I believe deeply that each trial you allow is for my ultimate good. I am unable to see the plan the way you do, but I trust you with my life, my soul, and my future. I am in your hands. Please shape me to be pleasing to you.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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...