Dear,

To start with I am sending the to the group also because I think many of us wonder when it will all stop.

This may or may not be the case for you so just pray about it and consider the circumstances. My wife and I have been in trying situations many times also. No it does always just go away. I can't believe God is sitting in heaven determining who gets slam-dunked and who gets blessed. It Is because of sin that we have pain, suffering and personal turmoil in this life. The Catch is that pain and suffering is not in direct proportion to our sin. God has put certain laws into effect. And pain and suffering is an effect of our sinful nature. When God made the Israelites roam the desert for 40 years, he did not make JUST the sinful ones, but even the Levites (?Spelling) who had not joined in the revelry. Since God forgives us unconditionally, then he does not point out our personal sins. But it doesn't mean sin is invisible; so the law of retribution takes over. This means we, as a people, are punished, not as an individual. Though this may SEEM unfair to the viewer; especially if you are experiencing trials and watching the sinners get away free, we should consider the alternative. The very best person in this life deserves the worst imaginable punishment because we are all sinners condemned to hell and damnation if it were not for Gods plan of salvation.

Now, how to deal with the trials I face? This is not a law and I can not give you scriptures to back it up; this is a personal observation. The more I have allowed trials to bother me and effect my walk with my Lord Jesus, the more often and severe the same trial return. When I have released to the Lord that which effects my walk with him (things which cause anger, hostility, and a general reluctance or refusal to obey his will), I find a peace and security that can come from no one else.

The bottom line is, don't look at the trials as a curse from God. Nor should we say I can't take any more, but rather "God, how shall I respond today." I have learned that not only will he lead me through the valley of death, but he will also bless and comfort me in these hard times.

My example:
In 1981 I was making $40,000.00 a year from my job and 4 rental houses. In 1983 I was bankrupted and me, Dee, and my son age 5 where living in a 15 foot camper in the national forest free camping ground.

After being thrown out of 3 camping site for vagrancy we became managers of an 18 unit apt building in exchange for rent. I joyfully named the building "Cockroaches Heaven", explanation not needed. Out of 18 units 12 were gay. Have you ever taken someone to church in full drag. Our side of church had lots of room; the other side was pretty crowded though.

We switched churches a little later. In 1985 we tried to adopt a foreign baby. Because Dee is a paraplegic we were turned down, I guess they are better off starving than to have a crippled mother. The agency we were working with told us about their handicapped foster program. God often has a strange sense of humor; we qualified. After our first placement we knew this was what God had ordained us to do. We told our church our plans and through them God provided a $1,500.00 donation to get started in a large house. One week later we had 4 foster children. We got a large house and incorporated as Yeshua's Ministry in 1986. No we are not Jews for Jesus. I got the name from Amy Grant sing, and the more I researched the more I knew it was his ministry.

I could turn this into a small book here, just as my walk as a heathen would make a good preamble to this testimony. For a mor indepth testimony go to http://www.greeting-cards-4u.com/Mikes/Testimony/

Today we have had over 30+ children go through our house. Seven are with the Lord today, Sean being the last. We never know where the next months rent is, but it always shows up in time.

So you see; God does not cause the Pain, Suffering, and Trials we go through but he does use them to bring us closer to him. The key is to release to him all our problems, and let him work THROUGH us. In all things count it as pure joy that God will be blessed, and you WILL grow in him and be comforted by his Holy Spirit. No matter what the physical outcome is, spiritually you are his precious child.

Mike Hodapp

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