My heavenly Father’s Gift To Me

For me, it was a time of disappointed. I felt deserted because I was left out of something important to me.

Several days later, I was working around the my house, and I began to think about buying a talking bird to keep me company. I started talking to my heavenly Father about it. I told Him about all the reasons why I couldn’t afford a talking bird. My mom had several talking birds in our home throughout the years; therefore, I knew what good company they could be. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to  spend several hundred dollars to buy a talking bird, so I asked my heavenly Father to send one to me.

No more than two days later, I was in my front yard, sweeping the curb, and I looked up into a nearby tree and saw a green bird. As soon as I noticed it, the bird flew down and landed on my driveway, in front of me. It let me pick it up, so I took it into my house, put it in the bathroom, closed the door and went to the pet store, to buy food and a cage for the my bird.

I didn’t know what kind of bird it was, so I described it to one of the employees at the pet store, and they told me that I had just adopted a talking Quaker Parakeet, which I named Crackers. He lived with me until he died, 10 years later. I was so very touched, and I was also stunned that my heavenly Father, not only answered my prayer, but He answered it in two days.

God’s word says, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

It showed me how much our heavenly Father loves me and cares about everything that concerns me. He will give you the desires of your heart, too!

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Above is a picture of me with my Crackers.

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

Trust Issues

“She would never be caught unprepared again, she swore to herself. She would never trust. Never love. Never put faith in other human beings again. She would learn all she could of the shape and substance of the world, and she would find a way to survive in it.”― David Anthony Durham,  Acacia: The War with the Mein   

We try to trust the people we love, giving them our love and support, only to be grieved by broken trust when we least expect it.

“In God alone there is faithfulness, and faith in the trust that we may hold to Him, to His promise and to His guidance. To hold to God is to rely on the fact that God is there for me, and to live in this certainty.”  – Karl Barth

Discovering The Faithfulness of God

The faithfulness of God is true and has been proven many times. In the Holy Scriptures, we can see that God is faithful and His Word is true. Hebrews 6:18 says God cannot lie, nor can He break an unconditional promise that He says He will fulfill. Every covenant He made is kept. Every promise or foretelling has or will come true. Testimony after testimony of God’s faithfulness is certainly found throughout the Bible and is still given in testimonies by people today.

In fact, accounts of covenants between God and His people can be found approximately 277 times in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Faithfulness of God – Examples

The faithfulness of God is starkly evident in His relationship with the Hebrew/Jewish people. God made a land covenant with Abraham (patriarch of many nations) and has never withdrawn what He has promised. Though the Jewish people have been scattered around the world, God promised they would return to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all their descendants (Zechariah 8:7-8).

Among God’s fulfilled promises was that the people of Israel would again become a nation in the land He says is theirs. This prophecy made in the Old Testament was fulfilled in May of 1948. Since then, the Jewish people have been returning home.

More examples of God’s faithfulness to keep His covenants with others are found in the following verses:

  • To Noah (God will save Noah and his family) – Genesis 6:17-18; 9:9-17
  • To Ishmael (God will bless Ishmael and his descendants) – Genesis 17:18-20
  • To Moses (God will spare the Israelites if they obey) – Exodus 19:5
  • To Jacob (God reaffirms everlasting covenant to Israel) – Psalm 105:10

There are literally dozens more scriptures of God’s faithfulness. None however may be the most life-changing as those that proclaim His forgiveness of our sins. There are many Old Testament prophecies promising a coming Messiah or Savior. God’s faithful promise was fulfilled in the New Testament when He sent Jesus to atone for our sins. No matter what sins we have committed, no matter how “bad” we are, God is faithful to forgive us if we accept Jesus and repent of our sins. • God sent His Son, (Matthew 1:21-22) through Him we have everlasting life – John 3:16

  • Christ died for our atonement of sin – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
  • God’s promise to remove sins – Romans 11:25-27
  • God ordained Jesus, author of eternal salvation – Hebrews 5:5-10
  • God will toss our sin into the depths of the sea (never to be remembered again) – Micah 7:18-19

Faithfulness of God – The Promises

God is so faithful that anyone who seeks Him can find Him. Faith is a gift, but even a gift must be opened to be enjoyed. As we implement our faith, we begin to realize more and more about God’s faithfulness to us.

  • 1 Corinthians 1:9 – “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.”
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3 – “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

In 1 John 1:9 we are told, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” With absoluteness we can have the confidence that God will forgive us. Without His ability to do so, He would not be God. He is the only true God (John 17:3) and the gods of no other religion promises this. Since He has made this promise, and we know He cannot break His word, we know that it would be contrary to His nature and that He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). Our God is a faithful God and there is no other that can do all He can and has done.

I pray this teaching touched your hurting heart. We have all placed our trust in a loved one or friend, only to be grieved by broken trust when we least expect it. God moved me from Texas to Florida, leaving everyone behind, so that I wouldn’t ever be hurt in that same way again, which I haven’t talked about yet, because it’s very hard to talk about.

There is peace in my life now, and I am working hard for my Heavenly Father, which is something that would have been impossible, had I not moved. After I was settled down, God began to show me things about my life and the people I left behind. Maybe you can’t leave the state, but I encourage you to take time away from everyone and take a good look at your life, this is a very important thing to do. It enables you to see things about your life and those  involved in your life that otherwise, you would have never known.

TRUST your Heavenly Father, He will never let you down.

In Christ’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

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.” (Romans 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. (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

How Do We “Live The Abundant Life” Jesus Promised?

Living the abundant life that Jesus promised us includes facing our challenges, overcoming our obstacles, and walking patiently, with hope, through our sufferings and sorrows. Persevering through life’s struggles is vital to our Christian growth. It will not be easy, so we must believe in ourselves, and God’s Word which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

God’s protection is not like a magic force field that keeps us from all adversity. We must keep in mind that we live in a fallen world, and we have a free will. We are capable of creating our own troubles when our decisions do not include God, and they are not well thought out. When we reap the consequences of those decisions, we expect God to bail us out.

On the other hand, accidents will happen, and difficult situations that we have no control over will arise in our lives. During those times, we need to remember God’s promises of protection, provision, and comfort – He is faithful to His Word! Jesus warned that we would have troubles in this World: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

God works in ways that we cannot comprehend. I can give you some scenarios of God’s protection, such as: His protection might come in the form of peace and strength in the middle of despair, or it might come as an ending because He sees something more on the horizon that we cannot see.

All we need to understand is that as a believer in Jesus, we are promised a new life covered under the protection of God in which NOTHING can separate us from His love. We can rest knowing that no matter what hardship we face, God is our protector, provider, and comforter!

Why does God allow us to experience suffering and sorrow?

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:6 (NIV), “Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same.” Unless we know the personal results of God’s comfort in our tribulations we are not able to comfort others in their trials. To have compassion is to enter in alongside of the other person. Suffering enables us to better understand the needs of others.

Prayer for Fear and Anxiety

Lord Jesus, the stresses in my life often reach a dangerous proportion—or so it seems. My body, mind, and spirit struggle to keep up physically, mentally, and spiritually. Some days anxiety stalks me like a deceitful predator, and the temptation to worry draws me in. I know better, but some days the challenges outweigh the truths buried inside. My trust in You fades into the background, giving fear and concerns permission to discourage me.

In those moments of apprehension, help me remember that I belong to You, and that You are not the author of fear or anxiety, but the giver of love and a sound mind. Teach me Your ways to respond to problems by giving thanks in them. Your Word assures me that You are always there with me. You are the Blessed Controller of all things, and nothing escapes Your attention in my life. You have given me every tool and spiritual blessing to fight against those things that try to steal my peace. You’ve promised that when I’m stressed and burdens are trying to weigh me down, I can come to You. You will give me sweet rest! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan Osten

Was it God’s Vengeance? You Decide.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.”  Romans 12:19RRoman 12:19 (NIV)

The Bible is very clear about seeking revenge. In Romans 12:19, God tells us to never take revenge and to leave it in the Lord’s hands. God is the ultimate judge and when we seek revenge, we are taking His place. When we become overwhelmed with what others have done wrong, we become filled with anger and find ourselves focused on hate.

I was married when I was seventeen years old, and I became a Christian when I was nineteen years old. Shortly, after I became a Christian, my husband divorced me. I was heartbroken, and the pain from losing him was overwhelming.

There were several circumstances that caused our divorce:

1.) After I became a Christian, my ex-husband told me that he didn’t want anything to do with religion, because his mother made him attend church during his adolescence and he hated it.

2.) After I became a Christian, he started a new job, and met a man named:

Jud, my husband’s friend, started to take him out at night drinking. It escalated to the point that my husband didn’t come home at all at nights when he went drinking with Jud. When I did see my husband, there was nothing I could say or do to stop him from leaving the house to party. Jud was a bad influence in my ex-husband’s life, and it ruined our marriage.

One day, I went to the store and Jud pulled up beside me in his Van. I said nothing to him at all; but, I did tell God, “Jud was hurting me.”

Time passed, and we were divorced. The Bible says, “But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.” 1 Corinthians 7:15 (NLT)

By the time the divorce was finalized, I had found a job working for a man in a one girl office, typing letters and doing his bookkeeping. I had also moved into my own apartment.

The emotional pain began to subside, and between my families’ support, my churches’ support, and the support of my friends, I felt that my life was returning to some sort of normalcy.

One day, not to many months after my divorce, I went into work as usual. I will never forget this: it was about 10:30 in the morning when all of a sudden, I felt this persistent urge to call my ex-husband. I knew that it was the Lord, and I told Him that I didn’t want to call my ex-husband because it would open up old wounds.
The persistent urge continued. I was so frustrated by it that I picked up the phone and called my ex-husband. As soon as he answered, I said, “WHAT IS THE MATTER?” He replied, “Jud is dead.” My heart almost stopped – I couldn’t believe that this was what God wanted me to know. I offered my condolences and hung up the phone.

You may be wondering if I have ever had an experience like that again: the answer is “No.” That experience shocked me – never would I have ever ask God to take a life.

“God’s blessings are endless. It comes every day and sometimes in different forms. Sometimes it comes so big that we become speechless. God is always faithful and I love Him. Thank you Lord for completing yet another important stage in my educational pursuit. It was tough, yet I made it, and made it out excellently. Glory to Him, the giver of all Blessings!” 

– Terry Mark

In God’s Love and †Grace, Susan