Day 28

With God All Things Are Possible

Wisdom Proverbs 3:11-20
New Testament Matthew 19:16-30
Old Testament Job 8:1-10:22


‘When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade,’ wrote Norman Vincent Peale, who published his best-known book, The Power of Positive Thinking, in 1952. It stayed in The New York Times bestseller list for 186 consecutive weeks. Much of what he had to say was extremely good and helpful. But, the words of Jesus go way beyond the power of positive thinking.

Norman Vincent Peale said, ‘A positive mental attitude is a belief that things are going to turn out well, and that you can overcome any kind of trouble or difficulty.’ Jesus said, ‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26). This is far more than the power of positive thinking. It is the power of God that makes what seems impossible possible. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).


Proverbs 3:11-20

  11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
   and do not resent his rebuke,
  12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
   as a father the son he delights in.

  13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
   those who gain understanding,
  14 for she is more profitable than silver
   and yields better returns than gold.
  15 She is more precious than rubies;
   nothing you desire can compare with her.
  16 Long life is in her right hand;
   in her left hand are riches and honour.
  17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
   and all her paths are peace.
  18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
   those who hold her fast will be blessed.

  19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
   by understanding he set the heavens in place;
  20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
   and the clouds let drop the dew.


Through Jesus, the universe was created

The fact that with God ‘all things are possible’ is proven by the fact that God created the entire universe out of nothing: ‘By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew’ (vv.19–20).

The writer of Proverbs sees wisdom as a person (vv.13–18). Through the lens of the New Testament, we see that that person is Jesus. St Paul tells us that ‘Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:24).

Until you find a relationship with Jesus, life will not really make sense. The entire universe was created through Jesus (John 1:3). He loves you. In a relationship with him you find God’s wisdom and God’s power.

When you find Jesus, you find the source of all wisdom. This is the way of blessing (Proverbs 3:13a). It is also the way to understanding (v.13b). It is far more profitable than all the material blessings (vv.14–15a). In fact, ‘nothing you desire can compare with her’ (v.15b).

This is the path to long life (v.16, which is ‘eternal life’ in the New Testament, see John 3:16). Here you find true ‘riches and honour’ (Proverbs 3:16). This is the way to a peace beyond understanding (v.17). Here you find the ‘tree of life’ (v.18).


Lord, I seek you today. Give me wisdom, peace and power to live the kind of life you want me to lead.

New Testament

Matthew 19:16-30

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honour your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.


What is impossible in human terms is possible with God

Do you sometimes find yourself facing a seemingly impossible situation? It might be a relationship that seems to have broken down irretrievably, or an issue to do with health, finances or something else where change seems impossible. With God there is always hope, no matter how bad things look. Nothing is impossible with God. His power makes all things possible.

The context of Jesus’ words that ‘with God all things are possible’ (v.26) is the account of the rich young man to whom Jesus calls, ‘Come, follow me’ (v.21b). He tells him, ‘Go, sell your possessions and give to the poor’ (v.21a). But it is too much for him to give up and the young man goes away ‘sad’ (v.22). Jesus points out how hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven (vv.23–24). Yet, with God ‘all things are possible’ (v.26).

Jesus says that, humanly speaking, it is impossible for anyone to enter the kingdom of God (v.26). Worldly riches are of no help. In fact, they are more of a hindrance. Jesus says, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God’ (v.24).

Some people have suggested that this is a reference to a gate in Jerusalem that was called ‘the needle’s eye’. A camel would need to unload all it was carrying on its back to go through it. Other people have pointed out that a word very similar to ‘camel’ means a sort of rope. Maybe he was talking of threading rope through the eye of a needle.

These attempts to rationalise the words of Jesus miss the point. The point is that it is totally unthinkable for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. But what is impossible in human terms is possible with God (v.26).

In answer to the disciples’ question, ‘“Then who has any chance at all?” Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it”’ (vv.25–26, MSG).

In this world the rich, the powerful and the famous are the ones who people look up to as ‘first’. The poor are looked down on, ignored and seen as ‘last’. But in the kingdom of heaven the reverse is the case. Jesus says, ‘But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first’ (v.30).

This is God’s powerful upside-down kingdom. Jesus asks the rich young man to give to the poor because he wants the man to place his trust in him and because the poor are such a high priority in the kingdom. They should be for us too: the thousands of children dying each day through desperate poverty and starvation, the oppressed people of so many countries, the homeless on our streets, the voiceless and the vulnerable.

Jesus rarely told people to give away everything but in this case, he did. For everyone, there is a ‘cost’ to following Jesus. There is the cost of being willing to fly his flag in a hostile world. There is what may seem to be a cost of giving up things that we know to be wrong.

Whatever ‘the cost’, it is nothing compared to what it cost Jesus to make ‘eternal life’ (v.29) possible for you and me. And it is nothing compared to the cost of not following Jesus. The rich young ruler missed out on so much.

Furthermore, it is nothing compared to what you receive: ‘And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life’ (v.29). Jesus promises that for everything you give up, you will receive far more – in this life and, even more significantly, into eternity with Jesus.


Lord, help me to be willing to give everything I have for the sake of the kingdom of God. Thank you that the greatest and most enduring riches come from following Jesus.

Old Testament

Job 8:1-10:22


8 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

  2 “How long will you say such things?
   Your words are a blustering wind.
  3 Does God pervert justice?
   Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
  4 When your children sinned against him,
   he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
  5 But if you will seek God earnestly
   and plead with the Almighty,
  6 if you are pure and upright,
   even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
   and restore you to your prosperous state.
  7 Your beginnings will seem humble,
   so prosperous will your future be.

  8 “Ask the former generation
   and find out what their ancestors learned,
  9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,
   and our days on earth are but a shadow.
  10 Will they not instruct you and tell you?
   Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?
  11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
   Can reeds thrive without water?
  12 While still growing and uncut,
   they wither more quickly than grass.
  13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
   so perishes the hope of the godless.
  14 What they trust in is fragile;
   what they rely on is a spider’s web.
  15 They lean on the web, but it gives way;
   they cling to it, but it does not hold.
  16 They are like a well-watered plant in the sunshine,
   spreading its shoots over the garden;
  17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks
   and looks for a place among the stones.
  18 But when it is torn from its spot,
   that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’
  19 Surely its life withers away,
   and from the soil other plants grow.

  20 “Surely God does not reject one who is blameless
   or strengthen the hands of evildoers.
  21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
   and your lips with shouts of joy.
  22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,
   and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”


9 Then Job replied:

  2 “Indeed, I know that this is true.
   But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?
  3 Though they wished to dispute with him,
   they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.
  4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.
   Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
  5 He moves mountains without their knowing it
   and overturns them in his anger.
  6 He shakes the earth from its place
   and makes its pillars tremble.
  7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
   he seals off the light of the stars.
  8 He alone stretches out the heavens
   and treads on the waves of the sea.
  9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
   the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
  10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
   miracles that cannot be counted.
  11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
   when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
  12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?
   Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
  13 God does not restrain his anger;
   even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.

  14 “How then can I dispute with him?
   How can I find words to argue with him?
  15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;
   I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
  16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
   I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
  17 He would crush me with a storm
   and multiply my wounds for no reason.
  18 He would not let me catch my breath
   but would overwhelm me with misery.
  19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!
   And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him?
  20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;
   if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.

  21 “Although I am blameless,
   I have no concern for myself;
   I despise my own life.
  22 It is all the same; that is why I say,
   ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
  23 When a scourge brings sudden death,
   he mocks the despair of the innocent.
  24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,
   he blindfolds its judges.
   If it is not he, then who is it?

  25 “My days are swifter than a runner;
   they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
  26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
   like eagles swooping down on their prey.
  27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
   I will change my expression, and smile,’
  28 I still dread all my sufferings,
   for I know you will not hold me innocent.
  29 Since I am already found guilty,
   why should I struggle in vain?
  30 Even if I washed myself with soap
   and my hands with cleansing powder,
  31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
   so that even my clothes would detest me.

  32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
   that we might confront each other in court.
  33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
   someone to bring us together,
  34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,
   so that his terror would frighten me no more.
  35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
   but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

  10 “I loathe my very life;
   therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
   and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
  2 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty,
   but tell me what charges you have against me.
  3 Does it please you to oppress me,
   to spurn the work of your hands,
   while you smile on the plans of the wicked?
  4 Do you have eyes of flesh?
   Do you see as a mortal sees?
  5 Are your days like those of a mortal
   or your years like those of a strong man,
  6 that you must search out my faults
   and probe after my sin —
  7 though you know that I am not guilty
   and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

  8 “Your hands shaped me and made me.
   Will you now turn and destroy me?
  9 Remember that you molded me like clay.
   Will you now turn me to dust again?
  10 Did you not pour me out like milk
   and curdle me like cheese,
  11 clothe me with skin and flesh
   and knit me together with bones and sinews?
  12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
   and in your providence watched over my spirit.

  13 “But this is what you concealed in your heart,
   and I know that this was in your mind:
  14 If I sinned, you would be watching me
   and would not let my offense go unpunished.
  15 If I am guilty —woe to me!
   Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
  for I am full of shame
   and drowned in my affliction.
  16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
   and again display your awesome power against me.
  17 You bring new witnesses against me
   and increase your anger toward me;
   your forces come against me wave upon wave.

  18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
   I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
  19 If only I had never come into being,
   or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
  20 Are not my few days almost over?
   Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy
  21 before I go to the place of no return,
   to the land of gloom and utter darkness,
  22 to the land of deepest night,
   of utter darkness and disorder,
   where even the light is like darkness.”


In your life, nothing is impossible with God

Sometimes when we see the suffering of others it is tempting to come up with glib explanations. In the advice of Job’s friend, Bildad, we see an extraordinary mixture of truth, half-truth and falsehood (8:1–22).

When Job replies, he says, ‘Indeed, I know that this is true. But…’ (9:2). In other words, he points out that some of what Bildad said was true, but not all. He rejects his glib explanation of why he is suffering.

Job’s words are far more authentic. They come from the heart. He cries out to God, ‘I could only plead with my Judge for mercy’ (v.15). He wishes he had never been born (10:18–19). He admits his struggles and doubts, and even his anger at what is happening to him. He says, ‘I loathe my life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul’ (v.1).

Yet in the midst of all this he recognises that nothing is impossible with God. Job says, ‘God’s wisdom is so deep, God’s power so immense... He moves mountains before they know what’s happened, flips them on their heads on a whim... We’ll never comprehend all the great things he does; his miracle-surprises can’t be counted’ (9:4–5,10, MSG). ‘You gave me life itself, and incredible love. You watched and guarded every breath I took’ (10:12, MSG).

There is an extraordinary mixture here of honest struggles and faith. Job does not try and pretend that everything is all right, or that he can explain it, yet through it all he clings to what he knows of God.

God was able to do in Job’s life what was impossible by human effort. God restored Job’s fortunes and ‘blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first’ (42:12).

Whatever struggles you are facing at the moment, however difficult life looks, however impossible the situation seems, it is important to remember his love for you and trust that ‘with God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26).


Lord, thank you for the example of Job – his faithfulness and trust in you even during the struggles of life. My life is in your hands and at your disposal. Thank you for your amazing love. Thank you that with you nothing is impossible.

Pippa adds

Matthew 19:16-26

A new Alpha term is starting in churches all around the world. It’s so exciting to hear of the hundreds of people joining in online and in person. They are coming to explore the meaning of life.

In Matthew 19:26 it says, ‘With God all things are possible.’ I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in the lives of these people this term.



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Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking, (Prentice-Hall, 1952)

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.

Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

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