Growth Through Change

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!” – 1 Corinthians 15:51.

Transition is a topic that is hard to discuss. While there is plenty to say about it, most of us really don’t like change, and with transition comes change. In order to fulfill God’s purpose for your life, you have to grow. You may be comfortable where you are, but to spiritually grow some change is most likely inevitable. Each one of us is a work in progress. We shouldn’t be satisfied with our current level.  

It is God’s will that we mature as Christians, becoming more and more like Jesus. Growth is not automatic. It takes dedicated effort and every Christian needs to make a conscious decision to grow spiritually. Nothing shapes my life as much as the commitments I make, so I need to wholeheartedly commit to spiritual growth. Part of this decision is realizing that I will need to make changes in my life. I may need to act differently in certain ways or get rid of some old routines or habits. When I do my part God will do His part and will work in me.

To really change my life I need to realize that my will alone is not enough. I can’t force myself to change. I need God’s help to do this. The first step is for me to begin to change the way I think because the way I think determines the way I act. I need to think maturely, focusing on others more than myself.

As John Maxwell observed, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” The Bible contains numerous accounts of individuals who made hard choices during their journey of following God and as a result, enjoyed His rich blessings. Every choice we make either moves us closer to God or moves us further away from Him and His mission for our lives. No one should ever be able to say, “I’ve made it so I no longer need to grow spiritually.”  

There have been a lot of  transitions, change if you will, in our lives the last couple years.  Without question, transitions are unsettling. The process of changing us is not easy. God wants to transform us on the inside, to help us become more like Jesus in our attitudes, our beliefs, and our love for others. It’s about a relationship, not rules. The more we grow in our love and relationship with Jesus, and the closer we get to Him, the more He will begin to change us from the inside out and we will grow spiritually. 

The Christian life is fundamentally a changed life. And it is never too late or too early to make changes. Regardless of what season of life you are in or how long you have been a Christian, you can change.  Jesus equipped you to experience the abundant life of glorifying God in all you do. It is never too late to grow spiritually. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What changes would you like to make in your life?  What are the obstacles to making those changes? 
  2. What changes would you make this week to grow spiritually? 

 

The Process Of Spiritual Growth

“Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen” – 2 Peter 3:18.   

Most Christians believe there is a blueprint for spiritual growth and assume that the same methods will produce the same growth in different people, but it doesn’t work that way. Yes, there are standard Christian tenets that we need to follow but the reality is that God created each of us as a unique person. His plan to grow you spiritually will be different than His plan for others. What would grow a rose would not work with a cactus. The rose and the cactus need sunlight and water but in different amounts and conditions. The key is not for all of us to do the same thing but to find the unique, to us, a combination of things that will help us grow spiritually. 

Imagine your pharmacy giving everyone the same prescription even though we have different ailments and symptoms. Imagine if every parent used the same rewards and the same punishments. If you want your kids to grow, we have to find out how to parent them that works with who they are as individuals. 

Our model for this is God Himself. He always knows what each person needs. He wrestled with Jacob, whispered to Elijah, warned Cain, and comforted Hagar. God never grows two people in a carbon copy manner. But sometimes we think that is the recipe for growth. We hear a popular pastor or read a best-selling book on how we can grow spiritually and we figure if it works for them, it will work for us. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others, but we need to be aware that it may not work for us. God does not do “one-size-fits-all.”

God has a plan for the you He wants you to be. It will not look exactly like His plan for anyone else, which means it will take time, effort and exploration for you to learn how God wants to grow you. Spiritual growth is hand-crafted, not mass-produced. 

Peter is an example.  Peter made his livelihood as a fisherman. But Jesus convinced him to become a follower of the Lord. Peter was rash in his thinking and behavior. God was patient in making positive changes in him. As an apostle of the Lord, Peter hastily told the Lord, though all others forsake you, I will never forsake you. But Peter timidly denied he knew the Lord three times. When Jesus saw him after Jesus’ resurrection, he taught Peter about God love and forgiveness.  

Spiritual growth is not automatic. The writer of Hebrews noted, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong” (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. You have to have a plan. A plan that is unique to you. 

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Are you content with your spiritual growth? Where would you like it to be? What needs to change to get it where you want it to be? 

A Little Pruning

He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.”  – John 15:2-3

In Chapter 15 of the Gospel of John, Jesus uses an agricultural example to explain how His followers are to bear spiritual fruit. First, let’s define what we mean by spiritual fruit. Ultimately, it is becoming more like Jesus and making disciples. Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Bearing fruit in the Christian life is not about doing works or attempting righteousness in our own strength. Rather, it is about intentionally growing in our walk with Christ, inviting the Holy Spirit’s work of transformation in us, and actively obeying God in all He calls us to do. As we seek Him and lay down our own fleshly desires for His better ways, we will bear lasting fruit and serve as salt and light to a world in need of Jesus. (See Matthew 5:13–16)

The question is how do we bring about fruit in our lives? The short answer is we don’t.  In verse 1 of John 15, Jesus explains that He is the Vine and God is the Vinedresser. Later on in the chapter, we are referred to as branches. Branches cannot bear fruit if they aren’t connected to the Vine. Jesus is saying that our spiritual fruit can only come through Him.

What is accomplished by pruning? For the plant, it’s a healthier and more vigorous growth with more fruit. For us, it’s the ability to rely more completely on God, our source of life, and the ability to live a more spiritually secure and disciplined life. With God, pruning always gives us hope. God wants His children to be fruitful. So like a good gardener, He watches over us, cares for us, and prunes our lives. The Father’s pruning involves the targeted removal of things in our lives that hinder our ability to live Christlike lives. God’s pruning is meant to improve us, not harm us. But, rather than passively waiting for God to prune our lives, we can seek to please and glorify Him by actively participating in the process. We have God’s Word to instruct us and His indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us. We can choose to partner with God in pruning our own lives.

We need to patiently endure God’s pruning so we may be made perfect, complete (James 1:3-4), and spiritually fruitful. “ For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4) Allowing God’s pruning to increase our spiritual fruitfulness brings the Father glory and demonstrates that we truly are disciples of Jesus Christ “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:8).

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever undergone the pruning process so that you can produce more fruit? Was that process painful? Was the result worth undergoing the pruning process? 

Vine and Branches

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. – John 15:1-8. 

On the night before His death, Jesus spent hours with His disciples, preparing them for the days to come. He spoke and prayed, and broke bread with them. At some point, He gave His disciples a picture, using the vine, that told His followers how they would survive – in fact, do more than survive – when He is gone. It’s a picture that instructs us, individually and collectively as a church, how to really live. It also tells us the end result if we live this way.  

In this well-known scripture, Jesus is the vine. His Father is the gardener. A gardener, a vinedresser, really only does a couple of things with vines. In the winter, he cuts off dry and withered branches, sometimes until only the stalks remain. Then, when the branches grow, he removes the smaller shoots so that only the main fruit-bearing branches receive nourishment. Sounds easy, but there’s a bit of skill in learning how to prune a vine and its branches. This is the Father’s role: pruning. Jesus is the vine; the Father is the gardener.

In verses 5-6, Jesus is telling us that we are like a branch. A branch can’t bear fruit without the vine. Without Jesus, we can’t produce fruit for God’s kingdom. To be productive on our mission we must surrender our will to His will. We must be obedient to Jesus Christ. The person who does not abide in Christ cannot do what pleases God; therefore, their works will be useless. In verse 7, Jesus is teaching that knowing His words will control and guide our prayers so that He can answer them. Jesus is saying that when we abide in Him and when His word abides in us, our prayer life will be according to God’s will and not ours. We will pray that God is glorified. In verse 8 Jesus is saying that God is glorified through our lives when we are obedient to His will because we will produce fruit that brings honor to Him.  

If you see Jesus in me, you will see the Father. If you see Jesus in me, you will want to be with the Father. We’re in the witness business, so we ought to look more like Jesus. To look more like Jesus we need to grow.  We get closer to Jesus so that we bear fruit.  We have to guard against allowing our relationship with Jesus to stagnate.  Our spiritual energy withers. Like drooping plants our relationship with Christ that was once so vibrant and fresh and exciting becomes slow, stale, and without fruit. What God desired from Israel was for the people of Israel to be more loving, to show obedience to God, and to practice righteousness and justice in how they conducted their lives. When we take that idea and transport it through Jesus, then in and through the disciples, and finally into all of us we begin to see how important it is for us to stay connected to Jesus who is the source of our Christian life.

Discussion Questions

  1. What vine are you attached to? How do you know? 
  2. What kind of fruit are you bearing? 

Recognize Moms More Than Once A Year

“Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.” – Proverbs 31:31

Imagine in your mind the following scenario. Moms across the country are sitting at the kitchen table, sipping an Iced Caramel Macchiato with Almond Milk and smiling as the sun glints across their immaculate countertops and an uplifting worship song emanates from the house speakers in unison with the chirping birds outside. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? The truth is, mornings for moms typically do not look or sound anything like this. More likely a toddler is yelling “Mommy! Mommy!” while impatiently rattling the bars of their crib. Or a teenager is asking what’s for breakfast. Before the mom is fully awake, she is stepping on legos, collecting laundry, and stacking dirty dishes.  

Motherhood is one of the most challenging and often thankless jobs to ever exist. Yet, there’s something about that relationship with “mom” that is unlike any other – the unconditional love, support, and sacrifice of most mothers is unparalleled. For this reason, we celebrate moms on Mother’s Day. It’s a moment to recognize and appreciate their role in guiding and growing us in faith and thanking God for their impact on our lives. We should do it more often than once a year, however. 

There are many different categories of moms: there is the stay at home mom, the working mom, the single mom, adoptive mom, foster mom, stepmom, and countless other mother-figures, such as big sisters, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, teachers, and friends, who have stepped into this critical role. Can we ever thank mothers adequately for their timeless work and love? 

A mother’s passion and commitment to her family is truly inspiring. A mother’s unconditional love is the foundation of the entire family. The strength of a mother’s love can move mountains. Our mothers teach us to be the bigger person, to have compassion for everyone, to rise above all, and to be our own source of strength. Did you ever watch a mother care for a sick child or spouse? She does it with grace and dignity. A mother engrossed in caregiving for an ill loved one is the definition of strength and courage by selflessly putting their needs aside to tend to us. 

It is important to tell our mothers we love and respect them every chance we get, not just on Mother’s Day.

So, as another Mother’s Day goes by, be sure to call or stop by to show the Mom in your life some extra love and gratitude for standing by your side through all of life’s ups and downs.

 Discussion Questions:

  1. How often do you thank your mother? 
  2. What can we do this week to show our gratitude for all our mothers do? 

Mother’s Of The Bible: Hannah

“Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:1-2)

She faced incredible hardship, but God blessed her. Others taunted her with cruel words, but she chose to believe God’s Word instead. The enemy whispered doubt, but she stood strong in her faith. Such is the story of Hannah. 

While there isn’t a lot of information about Hannah, her mark in the Bible is significant. Hannah was one of two wives to a man named Elkanah; Hannah could not have children, but the other wife had many children. The other wife, Peninnah, would taunt her regularly and Hannah’s misery was indeed immense. One night, while in the temple, Hannah prayed fervently for a child, so much so that the priest Eli thought she was drunk.”Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.” 

Hannah prayed that if God would give her a child, she would give that child back to Him. What’s beautiful about this story is that she did indeed give her son, Samuel, back to the Lord. Baby Samuel lived with his family and they loved him very much. But when Samuel was old enough, Hannah made good on her promise to dedicate him to God. She took Samuel to the temple to live with the priests and Eli promised to take good care of him. Every year, Hannah and Samuel’s father visited him at the temple. She had more children and was a good mother to them. Samuel, who had been dedicated to God, became a prophet of his people and a leader of Israel. 

Listen to Hannah’s prayer found in 1 Samuel 2: 1-5: “Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.“Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong. Those who were well fed are now starving, and those who were starving are now full. The childless woman now has seven children, and the woman with many children wastes away.”

God hears the cries of our hearts. “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17). He is worthy of our trust, which is something Hannah truly believed. Scripture tells us that after praying, “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.” (1 Samuel 1:18). Hannah did not yet know whether God was going to give her a child, but she went away confident that He had heard her plea. God did give Hannah a son, yes, but more than that, He gave her the peace of His presence.  

Discussion Questions:

  1. What can we learn from Hannah’s example as a mother?
  2. What did Hannah’s prayer reveal about her understanding of God?

Mothers Of The Bible: Naomi

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” – Ruth 1:16. 

Motherhood is one of the most essential roles in human history. There are many wonderful examples of good moms all around us, but we can also look at biblical mothers to see prime examples of what it takes to raise children well. One example is Naomi. 

Naomi’s story is told in the book of Ruth — and it’s a harrowing ordeal. Her husband and sons die, leaving behind Naomi and her two daughters-in-law: Ruth and Orpah. All three women were widows, with no help in sight. Eventually, Naomi decided to return home and Ruth goes with her out of devotion and love.  

How heartbreaking it must have been for her to return to Bethlehem without her husband and two sons. She had left home full of anticipation with each of them by her side. Step by step they walked together toward a new and more hopeful future. A new life was waiting for them just around the corner… or, so they thought. Now years later Naomi returns home with neither her husband nor her sons by her side. A woman who had left home whole was now returning broken and ashamed and wondering why God has allowed so much pain to enter her life. 

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” – Ruth 1:20-21

Naomi felt alone. She felt broken, empty, and afflicted. Yet, in His mercy, God had given her Ruth. And in the midst of her heartache, God was using her in a powerful way. Because of Naomi, Ruth learns about God, trusts God, makes Naomi’s God her own. As they settle in Judah, it is indeed Naomi’s advice and guidance that ensures the future of both women. This is territory and culture that she knows about; she uses her family connections shrewdly to help obtain a new husband for Ruth. Without question, Ruth does all that Naomi instructs her to do. While Naomi depends on Ruth’s work for their daily sustenance, Ruth trusts Naomi with her very life–and Naomi willingly takes on the responsibility. 

Naomi remained devoted to her daughter-in-law, and is one of the holy women in the Bible that provides a wonderful example of parental guidance and love. Ruth eventually marries a man named Boaz, and Naomi is content once more.

Discussion Questions

  1. After reading the story of Naomi, do you believe that God has a plan for your life? Do you believe it is a good plan? 

Intentional Parenting

“Teach your kids that the Bible is for them even though it’s not about them.” – A.M. Brewster.

Parenting today takes intentionality. As parents, we want to impart a godly legacy to our children. We want them to experience the joy of a vibrant, deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But then life happens as it often does. The days get busy and then the next thing you know weeks and months and years have gone by and we wonder what happened to the time. Life teaches us that it takes years and years of unrelenting effort to train up a child in the way he or she should go. Good intentions are the beginning of the journey. Along the way, you’ve got to avoid a lot of wrong turns, go around a lot of curves, endure a lot of problems, fix a few flats, and keep pressing on. 

Parenting can keep you so busy that you fall into a pattern of simply reacting to what’s going on around you. But you can’t be the best parent God wants you to be that way. If you’re intentional about parenting – choosing wise ways of responding to your children rather than just reacting to them – you can fulfill all of God’s good purposes for your parenting. Through the process of parenting, God is working not just in your children’s lives, but also in your own life. God intends for you to grow into a more spiritually mature person as you learn to apply His wisdom to the challenges of parenting.

Parenting reveals lots of valuable information about who you are as a person. Seek to learn more about yourself so you’ll have the perspective you need to improve your maturity, which will then improve your relationship with your kids. Ask three people who know you well and will tell you the truth on these questions: “What have you observed about me as a parent?” “What are the strengths I bring to parenting?” “What are the struggles I bring to parenting?” “What do you enjoy about being in relationship with me?” and “What are the challenges about being in relationship with me?” Then pray about what they say, asking God to help you grow in specific ways.

Make sure that your life is showing your kids the right story. God intends for your life to show your children what real faith in action looks like. Ask yourself: “What kind of story am I living in front of my children?” “Does my life speak about the things I believe and the people I love?” and “Am I living a life of faith in front of my children, or just talking about it?”

Successful parenting is not that complicated, yet it is very difficult to do well. At the end of the day, it involves giving up control to God. To parent well, we need God as a co-parent. God’s plan for parenting was never meant to be one we carry out without Him.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When do you most often doubt you have any influence in your children’s lives at all?
  2. Have you ever considered having an intentional plan as a parent? What has held you back?  

Happy Mother’s Day

“Her children stand and bless her….” – Proverbs 31:28

What can we say about mothers that has not been already said? Mother’s have been our confidant, our role models, our advocate, our inspiration, our helper, and our best friend to name a few. A mother is able, accepting, accessible, accommodating, active, adaptable, admirable, adoring, amazing, assuring, attentive, authentic, available, and awesome; and that is just the A’s. Being a mother is an important job.  

On Mother’s Day each year, we acknowledge the unique contributions that mothers make in the lives of their children. We certainly want to show our appreciation and gratitude more often than once a year, but on Mother’s Day specifically, we recognize the behind-the-scenes sacrifices and struggles every mother makes. We recognize that too often the contributions of mothers are undervalued, misunderstood, and overlooked because so much that moms do is unseen. Most people will never see you as a mom cleaning spit-up, cooking another meal, responding to another tantrum, picking up the legos before someone steps on them, listening to a teenager’s concerns, or stopping an argument amongst siblings; all while trying to find time to work on that presentation for work. Mom simply doesn’t get her due.  

Fortunately, that doesn’t stop you from always being there. You are there at all our sporting events. You were there with some good advice when we started dating. You were there on the front row watching us getting married. You were there when your grandchildren were born. You sacrifice and struggle because of love, and selfless, sacrificial love is worthy of recognition.

So, on this Mother’s Day, take a moment and consider the priceless value of the one who made your life possible – your mother. God created families and gave mothers a unique place in that unit. This scripture seems to be written just for mothers.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:1-4 NIV)

From infancy, a child is accustomed to taking from his or her mother. So it can be easy to forget that she has needs, too. Stop and consider what your mother might appreciate. For example, household help offered cheerfully is usually welcome. As Mom grows older, she may need assistance for her physical or emotional well-being. Some women desire only that their children express gratitude or care. So whether it is a Hallmark card, dinner out, hug, or a kiss on the cheek, we should show we care. It is so important to give our love to these dedicated women in our lives and don’t take them for granted. Honor her today and every day. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you appreciate most about your mom? 
  2. What can we do this week to honor and respect your mother?  

God Can Do The Impossible

“The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.” – Proverbs 22:1.  

Have you ever had an assignment or project that you felt in your heart there is no way you can do it? Is your business facing a challenge that seems impossible for you to overcome? Is there that subject in school that you just don’t get? Does your spiritual mission in life seem out of reach? The fact is most kingdom assignments are impossible for us to carry out in our own strength. They require supernatural intervention if we are going to be successful. Fortunately, impossibilities are the platforms upon which God does His best work. God is in the miracle-working business; it’s what He does! Yet we still stress ourselves out sometimes, wondering how something is going to work out. In those moments, just remember: Impossible is where God starts, and miracles are what He does.

In the Bible, God led the Israelites by way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Then, He guided the people around in a large circle. As the people camped at the edge of the Red Sea, they noticed that the mountains were on one side, and the sea was on the other side of them. When the Israelites saw Pharaoh’s soldiers in the distance charging toward them, it appeared as though they were trapped with no apparent way out. Terrified, the people cried out to Moses in despair. It seemed a hopeless situation.

But, Moses trusted God and steered the people’s attention to God and calmly gave a solution as he said: “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:13-14) Moses lifted up his staff and stretched out his hand over the sea and divided it. God intervened. He dramatically caused a strong wind to blow. The waters parted. And the people walked on the seafloor, on dry ground, safely to the other side.

Today, no matter what challenge you’re encountering, trust God: “The Lord will guide you continually…”(Isaiah 58:11). So, “Don’t worry about anything…” (Philippians 4:6), “God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” (2 Samuel 22:33).

God loves you because you are His. So boldly look with hope and confidence to the future. Every day expect the best that God has for your life. And in your mind’s eye, visualize the great Creator of the Universe going before you, standing behind you and guiding every step you take ahead. God has a plan for you. God can change impossible situations. He sometimes moves mysteriously but will provide what you need in miraculous ways. And it is going to be far better than you can ever imagine.

So, do what you can, and God will successfully execute what you can’t. Nothing is impossible with Him. Believe God and put your complete trust in Him, and not only will He turn your impossible mission into a possible mission, but He will reward your faithfulness in the process.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the fact that God can do the impossible affect your mission in life?  
  1. What would change this week if we believed that God can do the impossible?