I Thought It Was Impossible!

By Susan Osten

Several weeks ago, I was reconciling my checking account, and I said to the Lord, “I need a raise!” I was sort of joking with Him because I knew that because of the type of check I receive, no substantial raises would ever be forthcoming.

But, after I asked the Lord for a raise, He said, “Cancel my YMCA membership.” The next day, I drove to the YMCA and canceled my membership. The receptionist told me that I had arrived just in time to stop next month’s bank draft.

The Lord then told me to create an Income and Expense Form, to help me see the big picture, so I did what He said.

A few days later, I went online to make sure that my was deposited. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had received a substantial raise.

Some of you might be asking yourself, “How did she know it was the Lord’s voice telling her to cancel the gym membership and create the form?” It’s because, when I was a baby Christian, my Pastor taught me how important it was to LEARN to listen for God’s voice.

It is very easy to talk to Jesus. He is our BEST FRIEND! Be yourself when you talk to Him.

God can change impossible situations. He sometimes moves mysteriously, but will provide what you need in miraculous ways. Obey Him and do what you can, and God will successfully execute what you can’t.

Sometimes we forget, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (KJV)

Jesus: Our Best Friend

John 15:9-17 (NIV)

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

As believers, we think of Jesus as our Lord and Savior, King, or Master, but rarely do we think of Him as our close friend. We may have difficulty with the concept, but Jesus does not. Once we can grasp what kind of companion He is, we’ll realize that a truly joyful life is possible only through a friendship with Him.

Jesus accepts us. Unconditional acceptance means we can always approach Him, even with our dirty sin baggage. He doesn’t intend to leave us in our present state, and we’re accepted no matter what’s happening in our lives.

Jesus walks through trials with us. God’s promise never to leave or forsake His people is repeated throughout the Scriptures. (See Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5.) That promise is individualized for each believer through Jesus’ companionship. He is our constant encourager and faithful friend during both the good and dark times in our lives.

Jesus is always available. He has no need to sleep, take a dinner break, or go on vacation. Unlike humans, Jesus is never too busy to meet our needs or respond to our prayers.

Jesus listens to us. We can share doubts, tears, and joys with the Lord because He wants to hear from us. Whatever we say—even angry shouts and tears—will be met with His consistent assurance that He loves us, has a plan for us, and will rescue us if necessary. And He goes beyond mere listening: He speaks through the Scriptures. In the Word, we’ll find His answer to every circumstance we face.

As the old hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

Source: InTouch

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

Burdened, “But God!”

Are you burdened? You may be in debt due to medical bills, worrying about your illness, or going through a divorce. There are some situations you have no control over. Two words change every situation, “But God!” During your darkest times, He steadies your emotions. He keeps you strong when you have no strength. He places people in your path who offer comfort. People who care and pray. You may hear a sermon spoken specifically for you. God is making a way for you-He never leaves you. Some answers may be different from what you want or the timing isn’t as soon as you’d hoped for, but He is in charge even though it may be difficult to understand. Try to keep your eyes off your circumstances and on God. Press in and remember, “But God!” That makes all the difference in your outcome. Put yourself in His hands. That is where you can find rest. Matthew 11:28 (NIV) says, “Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Grace, mercy, and peace await you. God never intended you to handle things on your own.

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV) says, “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.

Dear Lord, we want to trust You even when we don’t understand our circumstances. Strengthen our faith, and deepen our love, and concern for others in crisis. Amen.

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

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God is a just, caring, holy, divine, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and sovereign God. He is light, perfection, abundance, salvation, wisdom, and love. He is our creator, savior, deliverer, redeemer, provider, healer, advocate, and friend.

How Can We Have Hope When Everything Looks Hopeless?

How Can We Have Hope When Everything Looks Hopeless?

In Romans 5:3-5, Paul says that we can rejoice in our sufferings because we are a people of hope: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3–5, ESV).

So, how can we have hope when everything looks hopeless? In the midst of suffering, we can rejoice because these challenges cause us to:

1. Rely on God’s presence

Rejoicing in suffering does not mean celebrating when bad news comes. But, it does mean that we can believe that God is doing a redemptive work. This word “redemptive” means that God does not waste a hurt or disappointment. He is using them to shape and build us into the image of Jesus, which is his highest passion.

When we go through suffering, we often pray and seek God more intensely than at other times. My greatest times of growth have been when I’ve reached the end of my resources and all I have left is Jesus. God uses suffering to make us rely on His presence.

In Psalm 23:4, David writes that he does not fear because God is with him. He relies on God’s presence, and it brings him strength and comfort. Remember that for there to be a shadow, there has to be a light. I don’t know what your “valley of the shadow of death” is, but I do know who the Light is that is walking with you in that valley.

In another Psalm, David reveals that one of the reasons for his joy is that he is forgiven: “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven whose sins are covered (Ps. 31:1, NIV). We can’t determine God’s love for us based on good or bad circumstances. We determine His love based on the cross and what He did for us on it.

2. Rely on God’s provision

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul reveals that he has suffered from a “thorn in the flesh.” God was so concerned about Paul not becoming proud he allowed this to happen to him to prevent him from becoming conceited.

In our current situations, God is saying to us that His grace is sufficient, and even when we feel weak, He is making us stronger than we have ever been. His grace is not an abstract idea. It is the person of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The hell you are going through may be the very circumstance God uses to take you to a whole new level.

3. Rely on God’s power

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9b, ESV).

What is your weakness? Maybe it is a son or a daughter that hasn’t quite turned out the way you thought he or she would. A job situation that has gone awry. A medical diagnosis that has scared you. Maybe, like Paul, it is also insults, hardships, or persecutions. Whatever it is, Paul says he will boast in those things because when we are weak, the power of Christ rests on us.

The greater the enemy comes at you, the greater Jesus is in you.
Maybe you hear voices telling you to just quit, give up, and let it go.

DON’T STOP! When you are weak, then He is strong. Remember the greater the attack against you, the greater Christ is in you, but you have to rely on His Presence, His Provision and His Power.

Write down what you are suffering from or struggling with and place it in an envelope. On the outside, write, “God’s got this, and He is transforming me.” Now when that challenge comes to mind remember to rely on Him.

-Derwin L. Gray, Gospel Of Grace