Archive Tag:Hope

Satan Loses Another Battle

Change is something we tend to fear and become anxious about because we do not feel in control of life. The good news is that God has a plan for your life, hope, a future, and to prosper. If we trust in God and allow the change to grow us to become more like Jesus Christ in how we respond and act, then we are promised that all things will work together for good for those who love Him and keep His commandments. Romans 8:28

This weekend we met a single mother of four children who are in foster care for the time being. We are elated and thankful to God  that with His leading,  we were able to her to get the help and support that she needs . She is a homeless, Christian woman struggling with addiction, depression, lack of self worth, and a need to escape domestic abuse. God has provided a roof over her head, a wonderful support group,  and hope for a productive future.

There is always hope.

If you struggle with addiction, abuse, depression, anxiety, fear and panic disorders, self-mutilation, suicidal thoughts and/or tendencies, or any of the other issues mentioned on this website, please reach out to us. You do not need to be in our home town to receive our help. We will do whatever we can to get you the help and support that you need.

Please email your story to us at outofseasonministries@outlook.com.

All names are kept anonymous.

All we ask is that you allow us to pray for you and help in any way we are able.

You are not alone. God desires to show you His love. I beg you to allow Him.

God already knows you are afraid. All He asks is that you step out in faith.

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. Philippians 4:6-8

Death Has No Victory Over the Child of God

When a bee stings you, it leaves its stinger in you along with part of its abdomen and digestive tract, thus killing the bee.

The same is true when Jesus died on the cross. In his continuing hatred for God’s Son, Satan thought it a boundless idea to have Jesus betrayed, arrested, beaten, and then crucified on a Roman cross, a most barbaric way to die.  However, everything went as God had planned, and the sting of death defeated itself.

So where is the sting of death for the believer? It is ripped out because at the cross, Jesus took the stinger out of death. As Christians, we no longer need to fear death because our souls will live on forever with Christ. Halleluyah!

He will swallow up death [and abolish it] for all time.
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
And He will take away the disgrace of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 25:8

Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol (the place of the dead)?
Shall I redeem them from death?
O death, where are your thorns?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from My eyes [because of their failure to repent].

Hosea 13:14

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says, “Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever). 55 O death, where is your victoryO death, where is your sting?”

 

1 Corinthians 15:54-55

Lose Yourself to Gain Yourself

And He (Jesus) was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

Luke 9:23

When I was dealing with discouragement and despair I noticed that it was because I was putting my focus and trust in everything else besides God. I was constantly dwelling on my problems and taking my eyes off of God.

Self-preoccupation is disorienting, because when we are looking at ourselves we are not looking to Jesus. and we are not looking at the road we are running on. The Bible states that Jesus is our example in Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

Note: Sometimes the public shame of the cross is overlooked when one thinks of the pain and agony inflicted by it, but in the Roman Empire crucifixion was a shameful and disgraceful way to die, a form of capital punishment from which Roman citizens were exempt; and in Roman comedy it was used in a curse: “Go to a bad cross!”

It is disappointing because we never find in ourselves what we are looking for. Therefore, it frequently leads to discouragement and despair. Ironically, we are often lured into self-centered introspection, which leads us into a vicious cycle of self-improvement efforts, self-indulgence, self-disillusionment, and new self-resolves.

When you do this that gives the devil an opportunity to tell lies such as God is not near you and He will not help you.

Please don’t listen to these lies. I found out what I was doing wrong and I went into prayer mode.

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.

The Bible states that Satan is a liar and deceiver. Follow:

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] 1 Peter 5:8-9

The one who practices sin [separating himself from God, and offending Him by acts of disobedience, indifference, or rebellion] is of the devil [and takes his inner character and moral values from him, not God]; for the devil has sinned and violated God’s law from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

Jesus tells us that if we are not of Him, we are of the devil:

He who is not with Me [once and for all on My side] is against Me; and he who does not[unequivocally] gather with Me scatters. Matthew 12:30

He who is not with Me [believing in Me as Lord and Savior] is against Me [there is no impartial position]; and he who does not gather with Me [assisting in My ministry], scatters. Luke 11:23

43 Why do you misunderstand what I am saying? It is because [your spiritual ears are deaf and] you are unable to hear [the truth of] My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths. John 8:43-44

The key to overcoming despair is keeping your mind on the Lord, which will keep your mind at peace.

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. Colossians 3:2

Take your eyes off the things of this world. Allow difficulty to bring you to your knees in prayer. Fight off those lies by crying for help. Trust in the Lord, not your circumstances.

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness[His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. Matthew 6:33

God Promises His Spirit and A New Heart

No one race has maintained their identity without a homeland after five generations except for the Jews, who have done so for over 2000 years. Yet as knowledgeable as the Jews are relating to the Scriptures, they fail to see that Jesus is the promised Messiah as prophesied in Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, and Zechariah 11-12.
Paul assures us in the New Testament, “not to be uninformed of this mystery …that a partial blindness (hardening of their hearts) has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25).
Surely anyone looking at the evidence of prophecy and the life of Jesus Christ must conclude that if Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, there will never be a Messiah! No one since Jesus has or can trace his genealogy back to David.
What a glorious day it will be when God gives them a unity of heart, putting His Spirit among them and remove their hardened hearts!
I will give them a heart to know Me, [understanding fully] that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. Jeremiah 31:33
17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give [back] to you the land of Israel.”’ 18 When they return there, they will remove from it all [traces of] its detestable things and all its repulsive things (remnants of paganism). 19 And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch], 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart longs for and follows after their detestable things and their repulsive things [associated with idolatry], on their own head I will repay [them in full for] their [vile] conduct,” says the Lord God.  Ezekiel 11:17-21

24 For I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My ordinances and do them. 28 You will live in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleanness, and I will call for the grain and make it abundant, and I will not bring famine on you. 30 I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, so that you will not suffer again the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember [clearly] your [own] evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your sins and for your outrageous atrocities. 32 I am not doing this for your sake,” says the Lord God. “Let that be known to you. Be ashamed and humiliated for your [wicked] ways, O house of Israel!” Ezekiel 36:24-32

Note: Ezekiel 36:24 This prophecy has been in the process of fulfillment since World War II. The Jews have for centuries been dispersed among all the nations with only a few remaining in the homeland. But by a.d. 1960 one-sixth of the Jewish population of the world was in Israel. Already they had been made “one nation” (37:22a)—between sunrise of one day and sunset of the next—“a nation born in one day” (Isaiah 66:8). But the greatest event of all is yet to come (Ezekiel 37:22b-25). This prophecy will be fulfilled in its entirety.

Then they will know [without any doubt] that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them to their own land. I will leave none of them there [among the nations] any longer. 29 I will not hide My face from them any longer, because I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 39:28-29
CS Lewis put it so profoundly:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.  Either this man was,Trilemma and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

You Are A New Creation. Halleluyah!

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation — the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!                               2 Corinthians 5:17 CJB

Regeneration, which consists of two things; namely, 1. Weanedness from the world: “Henceforth we know no man after the flesh, v. 16. We do not own nor affect any person or thing in this world for carnal ends and outward advantage: we are enabled, by divine grace, not to mind nor regard this world, nor the things of this world, but to live above it. The love of Christ is in our hearts, and the world is under our feet.” Note, Good Christians must enjoy the comforts of this life, and their relations in this world, with a holy indifference. Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet, says the apostle, we know him no more. It is questioned whether Paul had seen Christ in the flesh. However, the rest of the apostles had, and so might some among those he was now writing to. However, he would not have them value themselves upon that account; for even the bodily presence of Christ is not to be desired nor doted upon by his disciples. We must live upon his spiritual presence, and the comfort it affords. Note, Those who make images of Christ, and use them in their worship, do not take the way that God has appointed for strengthening their faith and quickening their affections; for it is the will of God that we should not know Christ any more after the flesh. 2. A thorough change of the heart: For if any man be in Christ, if any man be a Christian indeed, and will approve himself such, he is, or he must be, a new creature, v. 17. Some read it, Let him be a new creature. This ought to be the care of all who profess the Christian faith, that they be new creatures; not only that they have a new name, and wear a new livery, but that they have a new heart and new nature. And so great is the change the grace of God makes in the soul, that, as it follows, old things are passed away—old thoughts, old principles, and old practices, are passed away; and all these things must become new. Note, Regenerating grace creates a new world in the soul; all things are new. The renewed man acts from new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company.

Does Jesus Understand Your Pain?

Yes, He does!

Consider this direct prophecy of Jesus Christ from the book of Isaiah.; fulfilled in book of Matthew.

The Lord God has given Me [His Servant, Messiah] the tongue of disciples [as One who is taught],

That I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

He awakens Me morning by morning,

He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple [as One who is taught].

5 The Lord God has opened My ear,

And I have not been rebellious

Nor have I turned back.

6 I turned My back to those who strike Me,

And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;

I did not hide My face from insults and spitting.

7 For the Lord God helps Me,

Therefore, I have not been ashamed or humiliated.

Therefore, I have made My face like flint,

And I know that I shall not be put to shame. (Isaiah 50:4-7).

 

Here the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking as the servant, and as the obedient servant of the Father. You remember He said, “I came not to do My will but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30). I do always those things that please the Father” (John 8:29). Here he said, “The Lord God hath opened my ear, I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.”

He submitted Himself to the Father’s will. It’s a beautiful picture of the submission of Jesus Christ unto the Father, even to the death of the cross.

We are told in the scripture that Pilate had Him scourged. Now the scourging was a beating of thirty-nine stripes laid across the back of a prisoner with a whip that they call the cat-of-nine-tails whip. It was a leather whip with little bits of cut glass and lead imbedded in it that would rip open the flesh. The purpose of the scourging was to elicit confessions.

A refusal to confess, each lick would be a little harder, again, to encourage confession. “And as the lamb before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). He said, “I gave my back to the smiters.” But He had no sins or crimes against man to confess. And Jesus was scourged by the Roman government. He received thirty-nine stripes, laid across His back.

We are told that they covered His face and they began to buffet Him. They began to hit Him. Now when you can see a blow coming, you have certain natural reflexes of fainting with that blow so that you more or less cushion the blow by an automatic reflex of pulling your head back as you see the blow coming. Our bodies are marvelously coordinated. So our minds have an automatic reflex action, even as you blink your eyes there is a certain pulling back reflex when you see a blow coming that cushions the blow. Otherwise, boxers would kill each other all the time in the ring. But you see how they are moving and you do that instinctively and automatically. Now they covered the face of Jesus so He could not see the blows coming. So that He could not instinctively pull back. So that the blows landed on His face with full force until they had beaten Him to the place where His face was so bloated and so marred, and along with them pulling our His beard by the fistful, His face was so distorted that you could not even recognize Him as a human being. (Isaiah 52:14).

26 So he set Barabbas free for them; but after having Jesus severely whipped (scourged), he handed Him over to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and they gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet [b]robe on Him [as a king’s robe]. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and put a reed in His right hand [as a scepter]. Kneeling before Him, they ridiculed Him, saying, “Hail (rejoice), King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him repeatedly on the head. Matthew 27:26-30

 

Spitting is a sign in the oriental culture of total disdain and disgust. The Jews not only rejected Him, but they spit upon Him. ” I did not hide my face from their insults and spitting.”

“And as many as saw Him were astonished, shocked, and we hid as it were our faces from Him” (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus was not a pretty picture when He redeemed you from your sin. His face was a bloody, bloated mass, swollen and distorted beyond recognition. Covered with spit. His back laid open by the beating. A crown of thorns upon his head. And Pilate said, “Behold the man!” But you couldn’t even recognize that He was a man. And yet He did it. He endured it. He did not turn away. His ear was open. He submitted to the will of the Father because He loved you. “And who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” Hebrews 12:2), even though He despised the spitting, even as you would. And the shame of the whole thing. He despised it; yet, He endured it because His love for you was stronger than anything else. And the joy of being able to wash you and redeem you and to cleanse you from all of your sins was the thing that kept Him going in that moment of disgrace and ignominy. How much He loved us. Oh, God, help us to respond to that love.

 

 

 

 

Trying to Instruct or Inform God

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
Or has taught Him as His counselor?
14 With whom did He consult and who enlightened Him?
Who taught Him the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:13-14

I have. I have directed God in so many things. I have sought so many times to take over the reins and tell God how He ought to do it. “Now Lord, i have  it all figured out. If You’ll just do this and this and this, it will be smooth, Lord, and just really work like a clock.” I have sought to direct God, Spirit of the Lord.

In reality, we’ve all endeavored to do this a time or two. To teach God what’s best for us.

Now as we realize the greatness and the vastness of God, and surely the power and the wisdom of God, how foolish for me to attempt to instruct God in anything! And yet, so often our prayers are like little information times. “Now Lord, I want You to know what’s going on. And I don’t like it.” And I start laying the trip on God. “This is what they did and this is what I said.” What are you telling Him that He doesn’t already know? Who’s given God understanding? Who’s instructed Him?

Our very endeavor to do so only indicates our lack of a true comprehension of the omniscience of God. This is what makes these doctrines of prosperity and everybody ought to be healed and all of this so ridiculous, because the effect of these doctrines is to place man in the driver’s seat and God in the servant’s seat. And now I am directing God what to do and how to do it. Rather than me taking my orders from God, it’s reversed and God’s got to be taking orders from me. Rather than God’s will being done, there’s an insistence that my will be done. And that whole system just is utterly blasphemous! To think that I know better than does God; what should be done in a given situation. Or I know what’s best for me. I don’t. Actually, I do. What’s best for me is God to work out His will perfectly and completely in my life. That’s what best for me. Nothing finer could ever happen to me.

What’s Your Story ?

 What’s Your Story? How did you come to know Jesus Christ? That is your testimony, and every Christian has one. Some stories be more radical than others, but every testimony is significant. Perhaps you have heard the testimony of some person who came from an extreme background tell of how they were delivered from drugs or alcoholism. They were a gang member or a prostitute. They served time in prison. I received an e-mail from a man who came to Christ at our crusade in 1991. He writes: “On that divine Thursday evening in 1991, God took this lost, suicidal, hardened, 15-year-old member of the Crips and radically transformed me. My life was instantly revolutionized, and I’ve never been the same since. Next month, I will celebrate 23 years in the Lord. By God’s grace I’ve had the privilege of ministering His Word all around the world. Had I not gone to the Harvest Crusade that evening, I’m confident that I would now either be dead or in prison!” What an amazing testimony! However, his testimony is no better than yours. Just different. When I was a young Christian, I remember a girl telling me she was going to go back into the world because she wanted a “more dramatic testimony.” She never came back. Listen, not everyone’s story may be dramatic, but everyone’s conversion is drastic, because when you get down to it, God essentially does the same thing for all of us at conversion: We were all separated from Him by sin. We were all going to hell. We all come to salvation through the cross. And now we are headed for heaven. Everyone’s story is legit. Why? Because we all essentially start from the same place and we all experience dramatic change at the hand of God. And no matter how different their circumstances may be from yours, those who listen to your testimony can recognize that they too are sinners and need change—they can see a part of their story in yours. When you share your faith with others, one of the best tools in your evangelistic toolbox is your personal testimony. But it should always be a bridge to share the gospel. Your story points them to the greatest story ever told: the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, what’s your story? By Pastor/Evangelist Greg Laurie

Trial of Our Faith

The afflictions of serious Christians are designed for the trial of their faith. God’s design in afflicting his people is their probation, not their destruction; their advantage, not their ruin: a trial, as the word signifies, is an experiment or search made upon a man, by some affliction, to prove the value and strength of his faith. This trial is made upon faith principally, rather than any other grace, because the trial of this is, in effect, the trial of all that is good in us

 

Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials. Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust’s genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua the Messiah.

Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance.  1 Peter 1:6-9

The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds several things in mitigation of their sorrows. 1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude. 2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure. 3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men, we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church, and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual sorrow. I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart, Romans 9:2. 4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it. 5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian’s good: If need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for so the expression signifies: it must be; therefore no man should be moved by these afflictions. For yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto, 1 Thessalonians 3:3. These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.

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Nothing Too Hard For God

We Must Not Limit God

We too often place limits on God. We pray differently for someone with a headache versus someone who has a terminal disease.

Do not forget that God can provide a million dollars just as easily as a nickel.

Now to him who by his power working in us, is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine…  Ephesians 3:20 CJB

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He said, “There, in the tent.” 10 He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah heard him from the entrance of the tent, behind him. 11 Avraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “I am old, and so is my lord; am I to have pleasure again?” 13 Adonai said to Avraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and ask, ‘Am I really going to bear a child when I am so old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son.” (ii) 15 Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t either laugh,” because she was afraid. He said, “Not so — you did laugh.”

Genesis 18:9-15 CJB

“Look, I am Adonai, the God of every living creature; is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 CJB