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7 Things God Cannot Do

theology, Bible study, God

Don’t get me wrong. Hear me out first. Yes, God is all-powerful, all-knowing, sovereign, and holy. I fully embrace everything God’s Word says about who He is, how He works, and what He can do.

God is not limited. He has no weakness, flaws, or faults. There is nothing too hard, too big, or too far gone for God to conquer or accomplish. But there are some things that God cannot – or will not – do precisely because of who He is.

7 Things God Cannot Do

These 7 things are not a comprehensive list, but they will all help us better understand our one, true God. I pray they also help you to worship Him more passionately and trust Him more completely.

  1. God cannot be wrong or make a mistake – Everything God does is right. His knowledge is perfect (Job 37:16). All His works are perfect (Deut 32:4). He never even makes an “honest mistake.”
  2. God cannot sin – God is holy. He is “light” and in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Perfect holiness. Not a speck of unholiness. God cannot do anything against His perfect, holy nature. He cannot do evil or be tempted by evil (James 1:13).
  3. God cannot lie – Yes, a lie is sin, so this one is covered by #2. However, since the Bible makes a point of telling us this specifically, I thought it was worth emphasizing! God doesn’t lie like we humans do. He only tells the truth, all the time, every time. (Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2, Numbers 23:19)
  4. God cannot change – Perfection cannot become more perfect. Since God has perfect knowledge and perfect character, He cannot change His mind or improve His behavior. (Malachi 3:6). By the way, we shouldn’t dare to “update” God’s Word or standards to match our times. Our culture may be changing constantly, but God “does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).
  5. God cannot break a promise – We can always take God at His word. He is faithful to keep His covenants. What He says, He will do. (Psalm 89:34)
  6. God cannot get tired – No matter how much God accomplishes, how great and far-reaching His works, He will not grow weary or fatigued (Isaiah 40:28). In fact, He has strength in abundance and is willing to share His strength with us! (Isaiah 40:31)
  7. God cannot stop “being” – Our Creator God is the God who “IS.” His personal name, Yahweh, expresses the nature of His existence. He exists because He is. He exists outside of time. He has not ever “not existed” at any point, in any dimension. By nature of who He is, He must exist. Isn’t that mind blowing? (Exodus 3:13-15, Psalm 90:1-5, Revelation 1:1-8)

So, what do you think? Do you agree that there are some things God cannot do?

Want to know our wonderful God better? The following blog posts/resources can help:

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5 Prayer Tips from Jesus

Prayer tips

Please welcome my guest, Janet McHenry, author of the new book “The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus.” Janet is a mighty “prayer walker!”

When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.

That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.

5 Prayer Tips Based on the Prayers and Prayer Life of Jesus

  1. Pray simple prayers – The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). We do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, He knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to Him is a prayerful act already.
  2. Pray with a clear conscience – Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
  3. Be persistent – In Luke 18, Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
  4. Pray boldly – God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26).
  5. Pray with faith – When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, He said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle.

I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.

What prayer tips have you learned from the prayers of Jesus?

Other posts you might like:

Janet McHenryJanet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalkand her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today(Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.

 

 The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only Prayercomprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at all online bookstores.

 

 

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Dementia Took My Mom Years Ago

Caring for Aging Parents

My mother was witty, fun, and smart. She danced in the kitchen, talked her way out of every traffic ticket, and ran her own business. She read constantly, created intricate cross-stitched pieces, and could quote baseball statistics like a pro. She loved Jesus and adored my dad.

Mom may still be living, but years ago, dementia took the person she was. The disease slowly changed her personality and tore down her ability to effectively relate to other people. Although it happened over time, the reality hit me one day.

“Mom” was gone; just a shadow remained. And I’ve been feeling the loss ever since.

My mother and I were always close. Even after I married and we moved hundreds of miles away, Mom and I stayed connected with regular, long phone calls. I went to her with parenting questions and friendship issues. She always cared, always listened, and always had some words of wisdom.

I never realized how much I had depended on Mom until I couldn’t. But then I discovered that in some ways, our relationship had hindered my dependence on God. When something happened, instead of turning to Him, I called Mom. When she lost the ability to listen and understand, I began to learn how to take those things to the One who would always listen. Always understand.

Grieving Lost Relationships

The psalmist David knew about personal loss and painful relationships. Yet David learned to cultivate a deep, satisfying relationship with God that brought him comfort in the midst of grief, security in tumultuous circumstances, and joy that surpassed any loss.

In the sixty-third psalm, David emphasized God’s presence with His people. Whether through death, betrayal, or simply change, human relationships will always fail us. But God will never fail us. Our earthly relationships can never meet all our needs, but God can meet every need. He can quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. His love is better than life itself. (See Psalm 63:1-8.)

When you feel alone, when a sense of loss overwhelms you, turn to the Truth. You are not alone. God is with you. Remember the times He has made His presence known to you in the past. Reflect on those moments you’ve experienced His loving care. Whisper His name and turn to Him. Depend on His strength and sustenance.

Finding Joy in the Changes

Yes, our relationship with our parents is different than it once was. Now they depend on us. Now they need our help. Our guidance. In many ways, we are the parent and they are the child. We grieve the people they were and the relationship we had with them. But, in our grief, let’s not miss what we still have. Who they are now.

Today, my relationship with my mother is drastically different than it was. Yet I’m seeking new ways to find joy in the relationship we do have and to help her enjoy the life she still has. Mom can no longer read, stitch, or dance. But she does like watching planes take off and land. So recently, we drove out and parked next to the airport. And we sat and together we watched the planes.

How has the relationship with your parents changed in recent years? What are some practical ways you can enjoy the relationship you have with them now.

 

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging ParentsStruggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Read first 5 devotionals.

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6 Practical Tips When Caring for Aging Parents

Tips Aging Parents

Wouldn’t it be great if our aging parents came with an instruction manual? But, no guidebook exists. We don’t have a troubleshooting checklist.

So, here we are struggling to navigate the family role-reversal. The parent, who cared for us, now needs our care. And we are often physically emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. So, how can we excel at this challenging, God-given task?

The first – and best – things we can do are not “tangible.” Things like pray constantly, rely on God for daily strength, and humbly seek His wisdom. And let’s do those things. Every day let’s do those things. (The tips in this post are found in Kathy’s new book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents. Read the first 5 days of devotions now. Or order from Amazon!)

6 Practical Tips for Caring for Aging Parents

But practical things are helpful too. And in the little bit of experience I’ve had caring for my father-in-law and my parents, I’ve stumbled across a few things you might find helpful too.

  1. Mark your calendar with a pencil – Like you, I’ve cancelled lunch plans to take a parent to the doctor. I’ve blocked off weeks for hospital stays. But the one that really hurt  was when I had to cancel keeping my grandson for a few days. After I threw my pity party, God got my attention. In this season, my parents needed me most. I can make plans, but I need to hold them loosely. I’ll never regret the time spent with my parents.
  2. Build a network of accountability – My husband has talked me down off the ledge more than once. The night Mom told me to leave her house, she didn’t want me there, sent me running out of the room ready to explode. (It was the dementia talking, but it still hurt.) My husband calmed me enough to pray, then God did the rest. We all need 2 or 3 trusted people who can not only act as a sounding board but also keep us properly on our God-given task.
  3. Help your parents find new ways to enjoy life – Due to Parkinson’s, Dad can no longer fish or golf. But he spends a lot of time beating my brother and me at dominoes. Dementia prevents Mom from doing pretty much everything she used to enjoy, but we color together and she loves beading with one of her caregivers.
  4. Ask for and accept help – Whether you care for a parent full-time, part-time, or share the responsibility with a family member there will be times when you need additional help. It may be ongoing or for a single afternoon, but don’t let pride or self-sufficiency get in the way. There are people who would love to help they just don’t know how. If someone says “Let me know if I can do anything,” give them a time, a date, and a task!
  5. Choose to act in love even when you don’t feel like it -True love, agape love, is love of volition, not emotion. This truth is freeing to me! We don’t have to feel guilty about not always feeling loving toward our parents when caring for them gets hard. Choosing to act in love pleases and honors God!
  6. Practice praise and thanksgiving – The caregiving journey is often deeply discouraging for the parent and the caregiver. Purposefully praising God for who He is and looking for things to thank Him for are not only the best weapons against anxiety, they also foster joy and peace. (See Philippians 4:4-7.)

These ideas are just a start. All of you caregivers have some hard-earned wisdom to share.

What practical ideas can you share with us to help us excel at caring for our aging parents?

 

 

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging ParentsStruggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Read first 5 devotionals.

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We Don’t Have What it Takes to Care for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging Parents

This article is excerpted from Kathy’s new devotional book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents,” which releases today! 

When my husband and I were young parents, our church friends had an ongoing joke that reflected the challenge of raising little humans. We designated that carefree time of life before the arrival of the first offspring as “BC” – before children. Before children, we enjoyed spontaneous outings, a little extra spending money, and a good night’s sleep.

But after the children’s arrival, everything changed. Grocery store trips required hours of preparation. Paychecks often ran out before the next payday. And we regularly navigated our days in a sleep-deprived state.

Caring for little ones was tough. Then they grew to be teenagers and parenting stretched us to new lengths. Now, with our children grown, we can look back and clearly see how God sustained us with His grace through every stage of parenting.

Kids out, parents in

Then we totally skipped the empty-nest stage. The summer our last child left for college, my 80-year-old father-in-law arrived. One young birdie flew out and one old birdie flew in.

Granted, Pappaw only needed a little assistance during the first years he spent with us. Then his health began to decline and he experienced one major problem after another. As doctors, medication, lengthy hospital stays, surgeries, and rehab dominated his life, he needed us more and more.

For a season, I was helping both my husband with his father and making regular trips to care for my own parents. I desperately wanted to do it all right, but the responsibilities felt heavy, draining.

I quickly realized I don’t have what it takes. I’m ill-equipped to make good decisions for my aging parents. I lack the spiritual strength to love and care for them unconditionally. One minute I want to hug them and tell them everything will be alright and the next I want to force them to “listen to reason.”

Read the first 5 days of “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents”

Are you caring for aging parents?

Many of you are there now – overwhelmed with the needs of your parents. With the responsibility of caring for them. Like me, you don’t have what it takes to do it well.

But I know Someone who has everything we need and more. Caring for ill and aging parents challenges us daily and can stretch us to the breaking point. But, by His power and grace, God will give us everything we need to care for them and live a life that pleases God “through our knowledge of Him who called us” (2 Peter 1:3).

Caring for our aging parents is a joint venture with God

As we abide in Jesus, God’s powerful provision flows through this life-giving connection. The power is Christ in us, working through us to minister to our parents. Caring for our parents is a joint venture with God. As we step out in obedience, God provides the power to fuel our efforts. God doesn’t promise the task will be easy. But He does promise our efforts make a difference.

Today, let’s take a deep breath and settle into the amazing truth that our powerful God willprovide everything we need for this journey. Let us draw close to Jesus and hold tight.

What can you do each day to purposefully stay connected to Jesus? How will abiding in Jesus strengthen you for your God-given task?

Caring for Aging ParentsMore about “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents”

Are you struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection. AVAILABLE TODAY! 

Order the book now on Amazon, New Hope Publishers, or CBD.

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Special Offers and a Freebie to Celebrate My New Book!

“30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents” officially launches one week from today! We are so excited about this new devotional for caregivers we want to pass along the excitement with a couple of special offers and a free printable!

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents:

Are you struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Free Sample: Read the first 5 days of devotion!

Pre-order Specials

The book officially releases on May 21st, but you can preorder now. And there are benefits in pre-ordering!

Benefit #1: 30% the retail price!

New Hope Publishers is offering 30% off all preorders on their website through May 20th. Just click the “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents” pre-order button and use “preorder18” for the coupon code.

Benefit #2: Free Prayer Card Printable!

Each devotional in the book ends with a prayer prompt. I’ve used some of these prayers to created a sheet of 10 prayer cards for caregivers. Offer applies to preorders from anywhere – New Hope Publishers, Amazon, CBD, Barnes&Noble, etc. Just email me at kathy@kathyhoward.org with your proof of purchase and I’ll email you the pdf!

Prayer cards

Bulk Order Offer

Are you connected with a caregivers or dementia support group? New Hope Publishers is also offering a 40% off retail discount and free shipping on bulk orders for ministry groups. (Bulk order is any order over a case of 36 books.) Email me if you are interested.

Spiritual Encouragement and Refreshment for Caregivers

My prayer is that God will use this new resource to give spiritual encouragement and refreshment to those who care for their aging or ill parents. What is your prayer for yourself or others you know that are caregivers?

 

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Are you a Caregiver for an Aging or Ill Parent?

Caring for Aging Parents

If you are a caregiver for an aging or ill parent, check out this new resource and enter for a chance to win a copy of upcoming devotional book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents!”

My husband and I skipped right over the empty-nest stage. The summer our last child left for college, my 80-year-old father-in-law arrived. One young birdie flew out and one old birdie flew in.

For a season, I was helping both my husband with his father and making regular trips to care for my own parents who lived four hours away. I desperately wanted to do it all right, but the responsibilities felt heavy, draining.

Many of you are there now – overwhelmed with the needs of your parents. Burdened with the responsibility of caring for them.

No one prepared us for this!

Yet, here we are, struggling to navigate the family role-reversal. The parents, who cared for us, now need our care.

We truly want to excel at this God-given task, but it challenges us at every turn. Many days it demands more than we feel we have to give.  Physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion are constant companions.

Encouragement for the Caregiver Available Soon!

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents will be released May 21st! The idea for this devotional book flowed from my own need and life experience. My caregiving journey was still fairly new when I realized I needed a regular flow of spiritual encouragement and refreshment to keep going strong. While many resources exist that provide practical tips and help caregivers navigate the healthcare labyrinth, not many speak directly to our soul needs.

Caring for Aging ParentsWhether you care for your parent full-time, part-time, or share the responsibilities with a sibling or professional caregiver, this book is for you.  30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents goes to the Bible to find hope and encouragement for those caring for aging or ill parents. This daily devotional combines Scripture, biblical insight, life experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to help you rest in God’s grace and rely on His strength during this challenging season of life. (

Will You Help Spread the Encouragement?

Do you need some encouragement as you care for your parents? Maybe you know others who need encouragement too? I would be honored if you would help me spread the news about 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents. Here are a few ways you can find out more and share info about the book with others.

You can enter the drawing up to 3 times! In order for each time to be counted, please make a separate comment for each entry (Note: If you are reading this in an email, click through to the blog post to comment.):

  1. Preorder a copy of the book and leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comments letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Leave a comment answering the following question:

In your experience, what has been the most challenging aspect of caring for your ill or aging parent?

 

 

 

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Are You Longing for Home?

Longing for Home

Today’s post is a giveaway! My guest blogger today – Susan Booth – is a dear friend and the author of the new book “Longing for Home.” Comment below for a chance to win a copy!

Have you ever been homesick? The deep feeling of “longing for home” resonates with people across many walks of life. A couple of weeks ago, a woman from my spin class posted a picture on Facebook of her former home in South Africa. When I commented that it was lovely and she must undoubtedly miss it, she wrote: “I think I left part of my soul there.”

Surely all of us have experienced the pangs of homesickness at one time or another. In today’s rootless world, people crave a place where they are well-known and well-loved. Even for those whose walls reverberate with love and laughter, there will come a time when the clamour fades, and favorite chairs sit empty.

Are you longing for home?

If we are honest, sometimes a restless yearning for home even steals its way into our hearts even when all looks well from the outside.

But what if home is not a place, but a Person?

Perhaps our vague yearnings for home point to none other than God himself. Intriguingly, Scripture whispers that the eternal God has been our dwelling place throughout all generations (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:1). Astonishingly, Jesus promised that the Spirit of God himself takes up residence in the life of anyone who trusts and obeys him (John 14:16, 23).

Do you realize what an astounding statement that is? Almighty God desires to make his home in you! And he invites you to find your true home in him! That precious communion with God begins now—on this side of heaven.

Our deepest longing is for God Himself

What does it actually look like to make your home in Christ? Recognize that when you wake up, he is there; when you lie down, he is there. Weave his Word through every hour of your day.

Although you may still face an empty nest or an empty chair at the table, your heart will not be empty. The presence of God himself can fill you with his peace and strength and purpose. The God of reconciliation can mend broken hearts and broken homes. He adopts us into his family and knits us together into his dwelling place—the church.

No matter what you’re facing today, rest assured that Jesus is with you. Set aside time to linger in his presence. Heed his invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). As you do, listen for the words you long to hear: “Welcome home!”

What are some ways you sense the deep longing for your true, eternal home with God? (Comment below for a chance to win a copy of “Longing for Home.”)

Longing for Home

Longing for Home?

In her new book, “Longing for Home,” Susan Booth beautifully describes God’s answer to our spiritual homesickness – His presence with us. Beginning with the creation account and mankind’s once unhindered communion with God, Booth traces the thread of God’s promise of full restoration. This beautiful, unique book will give you a new perspective on God’s big story and His promises to us. This versatile resource can be used on your own or with a group. Each chapter begins with an imaginative re-telling of key biblical events. Each chapter also includes questions for group discussion and meditational readings for personal reflection. “Longing for Home” reminds us of awe-inspiring truth – God Himself is our true home. 

Susan BoothSusan Maxwell Booth serves as the Professor of Evangelism and Missions at the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary & College in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. Susan and her husband Steve are under appointment with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. They lived in Budapest, Hungary, for seven years before transferring to Canada in 2000. Susan has a PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of “Longing for Home” and “The Tabernacling Presence of God.”

Other posts you may enjoy:

 

 

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The Real Promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13

Promise, temptation

You’ve probably heard – or maybe you’ve even said – “God will never give me more than I can handle.” Sounds really good but there’s just one problem. The Bible doesn’t teach that.

Many people point to 1 Corinthians 10:13 to back up this “Christian teaching.” But is that what Paul meant when he wrote: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear?” Let’s pull back and look at this sentence in the context of the larger passage to find out what Paul was talking about. (See this post for more information on “biblical context.) The context, the topic of 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 is temptation and being prepared to resist it. Keep reading to discover the real promise found in verse 13.

At the end of chapter 9, Paul encouraged the believers in Corinth to practice strict spiritual discipline like he did. Take note of the “for” in 1 Corinthians 10:1 (NIV). Paul wanted them to be self-disciplined. He did not want them to follow the bad example of Israel in the wilderness who gave into temptation and disobeyed God. Because of their disobedience that generation died in the desert and never entered the promised land. Their story was recorded as a warning for the Corinthians and for us (1 Corinthians 10:11).

The Real Promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13

Then in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, Paul elaborates on what we should do instead of giving into temptation and falling into sin. Here are three truth points for us from this passage:

  1. Thinking we are too strong to fall into sin makes us vulnerable. We must keep up our guard.
  2. No temptation will come our way that hasn’t already been part of the human experience. We won’t be tempted with something “new” or “unusual.”
  3. God is faithful. He will not allow any temptation to come our way that is too great for us to resist. He will always provide a way for us to say no and the strength to bear up under the pull of sin.

Okay, did you see that? Number 3 is the real promise of verse 13. God will never allow us to be tempted to sin beyond what we can resist. 

God Does Give Us More than We Can Handle

So what about this question: “Does God ever give us more hardship than we can handle?” The short answer is “yes.” But let’s turn to another one of Paul’s letters for a more in-depth explanation.

In his second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul wrote about hardships he experienced in Asia:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, NIV

The same biblical author that wrote 1 Corinthians 10:13 also wrote 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. Paul knew that God would allow him to experience more hardship than he could bear. He had lived it. He had pressure in

Asia that was far beyond his ability to endure.

Why? Why did God allow Paul – and why does God allow us – to experience trials and difficulties, grief and pain, more than we can bear? So that we will rely on God and not on our own strength and power.

Hear Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:10:

He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us. 2 Corinthians 1:10, NIV

When we are unable to deliver ourselves, God is able. When we are unable to stand up under the pressure, it will be God’s strength in us.

No, God does not promise that He will never give us more than we can handle. Instead, He holds out His hand and tells us to lean on Him.

Have you ever misunderstood the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13? What comfort can you take in the real promise?

 

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Pizza, Best Laid Plans, and a Bunch of “Un’s”

Plans

This post is a giveaway! Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Rhonda’s new book “Messy to Meaningful!” Ever have your plans fall apart? Or perhaps they took off in a different direction half-way through? Maybe they didn’t line up with your calling. In this guest post, Rhonda Rhea shares how God’s plans always succeed, even in the midst of our “un’s.”

I was a little upset the other day. I ordered a pizza online from my cell phone. And then I found out they wouldn’t even fax it to my house. Really?! Why isn’t there an app for that?

Honestly, sometimes I struggle with technology. Even my smart phone is smarter than I am. The way I know my phone is out of date and it’s time for an update is when I finally figure out how to use it.

Although my tech-savvy children don’t believe me, I’m not completely inept with all of the current technologies. Why, just today I was playing Twitter and I’m pretty sure I won.

Devices and Plans

I was reading in Proverbs 19 the other day, and I had to chuckle a little when I got to verse 21. It says, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand,” (Proverbs 19:21 KJV).

“Devices.” Yeah, that got my attention. We have so many devices nowadays. We’ve got an e-this and an i-that. Here an e, there an i—everywhere an app for that.

E, i, e, i-phone.

Really the “devices” in this passage are all about the plans we make on our own. The English Standard Version calls them “the plans in the mind.” Have you ever had a plan in mind that you were all ready to plug in, only to find it wasn’t what the Lord had planned?

In a contest between our plans and His, I know I don’t need to tell you that there is no contest at all. The verse in Proverbs says that it’s His plan that will stand.

Struggling with “un’s”

Understanding that it’s the Lord’s plan and recognizing His call in our lives makes a big difference in those inevitable moments when we feel unworthy of His calling—or unprepared for His plan. Or a thousand other “un’s.”

When Isaiah received his call from God, his response was “woe” and “un.” “Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts” (Isaiah 6:5, HCSB).

The Lord God is the one who prepared Isaiah to fulfill his calling. He brought him all the way from “un” to the sure place of “Here I am. Send me,” (verse 8).

Isaiah was overwhelmed by the blazing holiness of God. That made his own unholiness so painfully, desperately obvious. But the Lord of Hosts took care of Isaiah’s need for cleansing. He readied Isaiah for His call and His plan.

Is there any “un” on your list He can’t take care of? No!

We serve the same Lord of Hosts. He will ready us for our call as surely as He did Isaiah. We don’t even need an app for that.

Though for the record, on the pizza side of the conversation, I’m still thinking my smart phone isn’t all that smart if there’s no pepperoni app.

What devices and plans of your own making have fallen by the wayside recently? What “un” in your life can you allow God to take care of today? (This post is a giveaway! Rhonda is giving away two copies of her new book “Messy to Meaningful!” Comment on this post to enter!)

 

Rhonda RheaRhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 13 books, including the new release, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer(messytomeaningful.com), co-authored with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, and writing partner and daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley have also teamed up for the hilarious Christian Rhonda Rhearomantic comedy, Turtles in the Road, with more fun fiction in the works. Rhonda also co-authors the Fix Her Upper series with Beth Duewel. She enjoys speaking at conferences and events coast to coast and serves on the publishing team of Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children.

 

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