God is Smiling at You!

You can read a lot from people’s faces, can’t you? Without ever hearing a word, you can sense irritation, pleasure, doubt, worry, and fear. You can sense condemnation, too. You can tell if someone is angry with you before a word is said. How good are you at forgiving people who have done you wrong? Not so hot? Do you hold grudges sometimes?

Sometimes we assume that that’s how God looks at us—never really forgiving completely, still angry, still remembering our moral failures. If we try to imagine his face, we fear that He is frowning. Instead of being fearful and imagining a frown when you talk to God, imagine that God is smiling at you.

God eagerly desires a loving relationship with you. That’s why He arranged for our wrongs to be placed on the head of an innocent substitute, His own Son, Jesus. That’s why He instructed Moses to speak words of kindness to the believers and bless them like this:

“The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:” Numbers 6:25 (KJV)

May God give you communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with a constant sense of His approval; and grant you prosperity in your soul, and in all your secular affairs! He loves you!

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

The Potter & The Clay

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

God is continually, molding and shaping us, so that we will be transformed into the image of the Son of God.

He uses many different methods to transform us. Some of the methods God used in my life are as follows:

1) My Vocation:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

I had to work to help support my family. My education consisted of a GED and some college. I worked in the corporate world, in Human Resources (Health & Welfare and Financial Benefits.) Because of the level of my education, I had to work twice as hard. At times, it really annoyed me, so I would repeat Colossians 3:23-24 over and over to myself, during working hours, until it became a part of me. God blessed me with raises and good reviews. To this day, I keep that scripture close to my heart.

2.)  My Co-workers, Friends and Family:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

3.) Suffering:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

I was nineteen years old, when I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my Life. About six months later, my husband abandoned me. He said, “I don’t want any part of Christianity.” I was devastated! In my early 20’s, I became pregnant, which resulted in a Tubal Pregnancy, which caused me to hemorrhage. I had emergency surgery, just in time to save my life. A few months after surgery, I became ill and I had to have a Hysterectomy. Over the years, I’ve lost almost everything I owned, four times, except for a few personal items, the clothes in my closet and some furniture. When I was in my 40’s, I became very ill and was hospitalized three times. I could no longer work outside the home. I’ve cried many tears in my lifetime, but each painful situation was teaching me patience. God, comforted me, provided my needs and healed my emotional wounds. My suffering changed my heart of stone into a compassionate heart.

One of the greatest evidences of God’s love to those that love him is, to send them afflictions, with grace to bear them. ~ John Wesley

4.) Prayer

I was praying in the Spirit…

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26 (NIV)

and an indescribable “Grief” came over me. That experience has forever changed me.

5.) God’s presence in my life and His LOVE that’s wrapped around me.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.” Romans 8:37-39 (NIV

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:7-8 (NIV)

Paul wrote that being transformed into the image of the Son of God is a process, and it takes time and is a constant struggle over resisting sin. He wrote,

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV).

So we see that this is an ongoing process throughout our lives. We shouldn’t grow discouraged because it takes time–a lifetime, in fact–and we will never achieve a total transformation into holiness until He appears. Then we shall finally be like Him, or as John wrote,

“We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 (NIV)

Paul’s words are an enormous encouragement to us:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

Please apply Paul’s words to those things which pertain to the glory of God and our peace and endurance through Christ unto the salvation of our souls.

Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14 (AKJV)

PRAYER

Father,

I want to win the race you have marked out for me. I am done with limping along. I will take the steps of faith necessary to strip away everything that has impeded my progress. Speak to me now as I quiet myself before you. With the help of your mighty hand, I will remove the obstacles in my path so I can run with strength, stamina and staying power. And make me a source of encouragement for others as we all follow Jesus together in this great marathon! With faith in You, I will win. Amen.

by Mark and Jill Herringshaw

“…Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

COME TO JESUS JUST AS YOU ARE

Welcome! My name is Susan Osten, and I would like to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with you. God eagerly desires a loving relationship with you, but sin separates us from God:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23 (KJV)

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV)

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

Do want to be at peace with God?

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1 (NIV)

But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives!

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 (NIV)

Jesus is the only way to God.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John14:6 (KJV)

Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness?

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty.

I suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

Prayer of Salvation

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus to acknowledge that I am a sinner, and to repent of my sins; I need your forgiveness.  I believe that You’re the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ who shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary, and died for my sins. I confess that Jesus is the Lord of my life. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I believe according to Your Word, that I am saved.

Thank you, Jesus for your infinite grace and love which has saved me from my sins and given me eternal life.  Jesus, please transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to Your name. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!

May the Lord keep you faithful in the race all the way to the finish line.

PLEASE FIND A PLACE OF WORSHIP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)
In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

God Wants You to Be Prepared!

Hello friends! May God surround you with His LOVE and bless you with HEALTH. May He give you PEACE:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (ESV)

May God PROTECT you always!

We own an Amazon Fire Cube. I keep in right next to my work station. Last month, I was sitting in my arm chair and I noticed a yellow light was swirling around on the cube, so I said, “Alexa” (That’s the name we use to talk to the cube.) what are you up to?” I didn’t expect to get an answer, but for some reason, I turned and looked at my husband’s tablet. On the screen were the words, “I do not have a body, what are you watching?”

A few days ago, my husband went to bed and I was left alone writing posts for my two Christian Scleroderma Pages and a blog for my website: Jesus Loves you! All of a sudden, the TV’s volume grew louder. I looked up at the TV and watched the volume bar go across the TV’s screen, until it reach it’s loudest position. I jumped up and quickly, turned off the TV. I knew right then and there that the devil was trying to distract me from doing God’s work.

Many years ago, I was praying with my ex-husband. He was asking Jesus for forgiveness of his sins and to be the Lord of his life. During the prayer, screams came from outside my home. It was screaming, “I am the devil.” over and over. I stopped praying with my ex-husband and asked him, “Do you hear those screams?” and I also asked him, “Do you understand what is being said?” He said, “Yes!” I was relieved to know he was hearing those screams and understood the words, too. Later on, we finished praying together.

I shared those stories with you, so I could point out, in the Word of God, how you can to defend yourself against your worst enemy, the devil.

The Bible tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

We have nothing to fear, because God has equipped us for battle: THE ARMOR OF GOD:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on prying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

We are never alone in our Spiritual battles. Jesus promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us. There are many scriptures in the Bible that talk about God defending and caring for His people. You will find an example from a couples of months ago, of how God intervened in my life, when I faced a very difficult situation. I encourage you to read the story. The blog’s title is: WHATEVER YOU FACE IN LIFE, GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.

In Christian † Love, Susan Osten

Why Pain & Suffering

Pain and suffering can help us to learn important lessons in life.

•Pain and suffering can test us to show what we are made of.

•Pain and suffering can help to shape our character.

•Pain and suffering can lead to repentance and salvation.

•Pain and suffering can sometimes help us to trust God.

•Pain and suffering can bring about creativity, resourcefulness and courage.

•Pain and suffering can help us to comfort others who are going through similar pain.

•Bearing pain and suffering well can be an inspiration to others.

•Pain and suffering can have a Divine purpose in preparing us for glory.

•Pain and suffering can prevent us from becoming dangerously proud.

•Sometimes pain and suffering in the life of one person can result in the advancement of the gospel in the life of another person. – Words Worth Listening

God led MOSES out into the wilderness for 40 years.

Why? “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV)

Moses was not allowed to go into the Promise Land because he disobeyed God: Water From the Rock, Numbers 20:1-12 (NIV)

1 In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.   2 Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron.   3 They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD!   4 Why did you bring the LORD’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here?   5 Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”   6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them.   7 The LORD said to Moses,   8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”   9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him.   10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. 12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” 

God told Moses he would die soon. After Moses died, Joshua, who had served Moses from childhood, led the Israelites into the Promised Land.

God told Joshua: “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)

God allowed JOB to suffer agonizing loss and illness and at the same time, he dealt with mockery and condemnatory peers. Job was a blameless, upright and God fearing man in the sight of God.

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

“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’ ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’” Job 1:8-12 (NIVUK)

Jobs suffered agonizing trials and “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Job 1:22 (NIV)

PAUL THE APOSTLE lost everything, yet he said…

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8 (NIVUK)

SUFFERING FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16 (NIV)

JESUS, God’s Son, Suffered Horribly

Why? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

The Lord, Jesus Christ suffered our punishment for sin and He was crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death.

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.” Hebrews 2:9-10 (NIV)

Christians, even with our pain and suffering, God wants to use us. What do you think some of our top priorities should be while we are living on earth?  Listed below are some of my thoughts:

Our Love for God: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

Imitate Jesus’ Humility: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:1-8 (NIV)

The Great Commission: Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation…”  Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)

As Christians, God expects us, within our sphere of influence, to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. If you proclaim to be a Christian, you’re living in a glass house. Your words, lives and deeds are being scrutinized: therefore, we must be sure our lives are Christ-like, in both word and deed. Be sure to listen for the Holy Spirit’s direction when approaching and/or beginning a conversation with people about God’s Gift of Salvation: John 3:16. When I was a baby Christian, I had so much zeal. I couldn’t wait to tell someone about Jesus. I had not yet learned that I needed the Holy Spirit’s help.

In closing, I’d like to encourage all those who are witnessing for Jesus. You may plant the seeds of God’s Word in many lives and God will send other Christians to water those seeds, because our words and Christ-like personality may just be a part of what they need see and hear. You may not always see the end results of sowing the seeds of God’s Word into the lives of your loved ones, friends, coworkers and strangers who happened across your path but don’t let this discourage you, because…

God Word says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”  Isaiah 55:11 (NLT)

Remember, sharing your testimony with people is important!

The Bible says in Revelation 12:11 (NIVUK) “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

Telling your story can be the overcoming power for someone else. It can symbolize the “blood” that was shed so someone can experience life. Some man, woman, girl or boy needs to hear your story in the midst of his or her painful situation.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

When You’re Seeking Guidance

Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

I ask You to keep speaking truth to me. Sometimes I don’t want to hear it. I want to go my willful way, and I know You’ll just delay me. Then there are other times when Your voice gets drowned out by other sounds around me. It seems there’s always a TV blaring, a computer humming, a cell phone ringing, an alarm beeping, and people complaining. That can make it hard to hear You. But now I’ll focus my spiritual ears on that “still, small voice” of Yours. I’ll listen for your gentle whisper. Keep sending your message of truth in my direction, and I’ll pay attention, because ultimately Yours is the only voice that makes sense. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (CBS)

It must be admitted that a life is properly formed when and only when it is yielded to God. – John Calvin

The Holy Spirit is God, our Helper. This is the ultimate goal of His indwelling. In the ancient language the word for Holy Spirit which is alternately translated, ‘counselor’ or ‘comforter’ actually signifies “called to one’s side.” Therefore the Holy Spirit is He who was called along side of us, to help us.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

Sources: AllAboutReflect.org, The Right Prayers For Every Need

Whatever You Face In Life, God Will Take Care of You!

Update: July 12th, my husband is returning to work at what he considers his dream job, because it’s 5 minutes from home and he will no longer be driving all day. The job came to him at just the right time. I’ve gained strength in my right arm and can handle a lot more things, now. Thank you, God!

PRELUDE: I tripped over a tree root, while running with Taylor.

When I hit the ground, I heard a tearing noise, and a loud crack: I felt no pain. The impact broke my shoulder, knocked out a tooth and I had a bump on the back of my head.

When the paramedics arrived, they brought a gurney in to the Dog Park to pick me up. They had a lot of trouble trying to lift me out of the grass, so they had to go back to the ambulance and get a scooper gurney, and they had trouble getting me on to that one, too. I was in pain by the time I reached the ambulance, and one of the paramedics offered me pain medication, and I accepted. Before they administered the drug, they took 5 minutes to explain the side effects. They kept emphasizing that it could stop my breathing, and then he said, “Don’t worry, we have something available to start your breathing again.” I let them administer it. At the ER, the doctor told me I needed to see a Surgeon within 3 days. He handed me his card.

One day, before my accident, I was thinking to myself, “God has blessed me with a Christian Website, 2 Christian Scleroderma Facebook Pages, and most importantly, I’m reaching people for Jesus. I was begining to wonder when the devil would be prowling around, causing trouble?”

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) says, to “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

On the morning of Tuesday, April 16th, I woke up late. I had one hour to get my Lab to the Dog Park, come home, shower, dress and go to a 10:30 a.m. doctor’s appointment. I take Taylor to the Dog Park because I live in a retirement community and the weight limit for dogs is 30 pounds. Taylor weighs 114 pounds and she frightens the elderly people when she barks at their dogs. She’s allowed to live in the community because she’s a licensed, Emotional Support Dog.

I felt stuck, so I asked God, “Do you get involved in these types of situations?” Five minutes later, my husband walked through the door: he had lost his job. Because of his unfortunate happenstance, I made it to my doctor’s appointment and Taylor went to the Dog Park.

That afternoon, I was running with my dog at the Dog Park and I tripped over a tree root. When I hit the ground, I landed on my face, shattering a tooth and I heared a tearing noise and a loud crack. I had broken my shoulder. I was taken to the ER by ambulance because I couldn’t move. At the hospital, they took an x-ray of my shoulder. The doctor confirmed that I had broken my right shoulder. I had surgery on April 30th.

Bone is growing over the implant.

June is upon us, and I still do not have full range of motion in my right arm. I am blessed to have physical therapists come into my home twice a week, to assist me in strengthening, and retraining the muscles in my right arm. I still have to have assistance with some things and I cannot lift anything over 10 pounds. I’m so grateful that on the day of my accident, my husband was with me.

Little did I know, my husband was going to be my caregiver for 3 months. I was incapacitated: I had no family or good friends in Florida; therefore, it was a blessing in disguise when my husband lost his job. I experianced one of God’s promises. I experienced God’s care, and how He strategically handled everything. I chose the following Scriptures to encourage you in your relationship with God:

“I will be your God through all your lifetime. I made you and will take care of you. I will carry you along and be your Savior.” Isaiah 46:4 (TLB)

Romans 8:28 (NIV) says, “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.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “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.”

Psalm 34:19 (NIV) says, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;”

I’m at peace, despite the circumstances.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

I know I will, at times, face discouragement. But I know to kept my eyes on Jesus and trust His promises. He is our mighty Savior who will sustain us during our difficult times. Nothing compares to the love He has for us. He is our strong tower and our hope in every storm.

Psalm 62:5 (NLT) says, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”

NO MATTER WHAT DIFFICULTIES YOU MAY ENCOUNTER, GOD WILL BE THERE, WORKING ON YOUR BEHALF.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten