Do Not Listen

Do you ever feel surrounded by lies?

Do you automatically question news you read on Facebook or hear on TV?

When you see graphs and numbers and statistics, do you wonder if any of it is accurate?

I do. I question any news I hear – all of it. I don’t believe a lot of things that people tell me. If it’s important, I research it myself looking for corroborating information from several credible sources. I no longer automatically trust leaders – any kind of leader.

Being lied to by people we should be able to trust is not a new thing. God spoke very clearly about some of the liars in Jeremiah’s day. “Do not listen to the prophets who say, ‘Very soon now the articles from the LORD’s house will be brought back from Babylon.’ They are prophesying lies to you. Do not listen. ” Jeremiah 27: 16 – 17. God goes on to say that the articles of the temple would stay in Babylon until he brought them back. Ultimately he was saying that it wasn’t happening until he made it happen and it wasn’t happening now.

I also question things that I hear come out of pastor’s mouths during sermons. I’m in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and, if I don’t remember reading something that is said in a sermon, I go home and research it. Most of the time it’s a phrase or a situation that I’ve never fully understood before and it’s great – I learned something. I’ve had a few times when I didn’t agree with how the pastor used a scripture especially when a single verse is not used in context with the verses around it.

The one source I never question is the Bible. It is the Living Word of God. I question people’s interpretations of scripture but not what God has actually said. God is perfect and he doesn’t make mistakes. The Bible is as relevant today as it was when it was written.

And God is saying, “Do not listen.” There has never been a time in my life where this direction is more important than right now. There has never been a time where asking God to help me discern the truth has been as high of a priority for me.

Because I feel like I’m surrounded by lies. Surrounded by information that is being manipulated by leaders who are putting personal goals of power and wealth ahead of the greater good.

And God is saying, ‘Do not listen.”

Thank you, Abba Father.

Revealer of Mysteries

I don’t understand everything I read in the Bible. I will never understand everything I read in the Bible. It’s very interesting to watch God reveal different truths to me each time I read it. Was that always in there? How did I miss that before? When God does this, I have discovered that he is usually giving me an answer to something I have prayed about.

Daniel called God the Revealer of Mysteries.  As Daniel started to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for him, he said , “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.” Daniel 2:29.

There are many mysteries in our lives that we would like to have answers for, aren’t there?

Why am I here?

Why is this happening?

What am I supposed to do?

Should I go through this door?

I have discovered that God has all the answers to these mysteries. When I trust him, he reveals what I need to know when I need to know it. If I’m feeling like I need an answer right now and I don’t have it, I focus all of my attention on God and he always responds. Often I realize that God was trying to give me direction but it was so different than what I expected that I had overlooked it.

I know I’m moving down the right path when I’m heading towards God.  I’m on the right road when I’m trusting that he will explain what I need to know when I need to know it.

As my trust in God grows, I have found that the number of mysteries in my life shrinks.  He is always speaking to me – loving me, guiding me and pointing out my next step just at the right time – not a day early.

The Revealer of Mysteries proves over and over that he has it all under control.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Exiled

You may heard this famous verse from Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 29:11.

What an awesome promise!  We love to print it on plaques and hang it on our walls.

But did you realize that this promise was originally made to the Israelites who had been exiled by God to Babylon?  God let the King of Babylon capture Jerusalem and take the Israelites away from their homes.  Right before his promise concerning his good plans for them, God told Israel through Jeremiah that they would be in exile for 70 years.

70 years.

This meant that many of them would die in Babylon – never going back to Jerusalem. The Israelites had been ripped away from the homes they had expected to live in for the rest of their lives.  They were now living in a foreign land – exiled – and many of them would die far from their home in Jerusalem.

Do you ever feel like you have been exiled?

I have.

I do.

The life I expected to live was suddenly snatched away from me when my son, David Glasser, was killed in the line of duty six years ago.  My world has changed so drastically that sometimes it feels like I am now living in a foreign land.  I’m exiled far from what I thought the rest of my life was going to look like before Davey died.

And today, God is saying to me – and maybe to you – that I will continue to live in this foreign place until he comes to take me home.  While I’m here, he has plans for me.  He is giving me hope and a purpose.

After his initial famous promise in Jeremiah, God gives us more promises.  He tells us that when we pray, he will listen.  When we diligently look for him, we will find him.

I know God always keeps his promises – that’s a fact.  I have discovered that reading his Word, absorbing what he is saying to me and growing my trust in him gives me the strength and peace I need for each day as I live out the rest of my days…

here in exile.

Hearing the Truth….

And responding to the truth.

Both of these actions are equally important.

I need to know the truth.  And I’m not going to know the truth by listening or reading the national news or reading ‘news’ on line.  The idea of objectively reporting the facts has disappeared – there is always an underlying message that the media is supporting.  They actually leave out facts that don’t support their message.

I can’t believe pictures anymore – faces are changed, locations are changed and they are used out of context.  Again – to support the message.   We’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Now a picture can be worth a thousand lies.

I don’t want to hear and respond to the half-truths and lies of our culture.

So how do I know what is true?

One of the reasons I love reading God’s word is I know its the truth.  As God speaks to me through his word, I know its right and good.

So I can respond.  I can open my heart and let God transform my mind with his truth.

I am encouraged by the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings.  Josiah reigned in the middle of a string of very evil kings.  When he heard the truth, he turned away from the bad example of the other kings and led his people in a huge spiritual revival.  His people got rid of all of their idols and tore down the high places where they worshipped other gods.

A whole nation turned back to God because Josiah heard the truth and responded.

Now it’s our turn to hear the truth and respond.

Thank you for the truth, Abba Father.

Finding the Book

The Book of the Law.

Moses’ book.

God’s words.

God tells us an encouraging story about King Josiah in 2 Chronicles.  King Josiah knew it was time to repair the temple of the Lord so he made it happen.

While they were cleaning and fixing the temple, they discovered “the Book of the Law of the Lord that had been given through Moses”.(34:14)  The book was read to the king who immediately tore his robes and asked the prophetess Huldah to tell him what God wanted to say to him.  Her message from God could be boiled down to three words, ‘disaster is coming’.

The king reacted immediately by having the Book read to all of the people and then leading them in recommitting to their relationship with God.   The king cleared out all of the idols from the temple along with the idolatrous priests.  He destroyed all of the places for idol worship and altars.  He got rid of the mediums and spiritists along with all other ‘detestable’ things.

When everything was done, they celebrated the Passover which had not been celebrated properly for hundreds of years.  Great job, King Josiah!

So what about me?  What about you?  Do we need to ‘find’ the book of the Lord?

Are there ‘things’ in our lives that we put a higher priority on than our relationship with God?  These are our idols.

Do we look to sources other than God for our guidance and direction?   How often to we check with Google on important things rather than checking with God?

Is our Bible sitting on the shelf more than its been sitting open on our lap?  Are we letting God transform our lives as we soak in his truth, not the lies that swirl around us?

King Josiah’s cleansing of the land of Judah was a high point in their history.  He heard God’s word, he listened and he obeyed.

King Josiah found the Book.  The book led him to God.  God led him to renewal and celebration.

I am in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I continue to experience this renewal and celebration as, each day, I let God’s truth guide me and fill my heart with peace, love and strength.

Is it time for some renewal and celebration in your life?

Maybe its time to REALLY find the Book.

Thank you for revealing your truth to us in your Word, Abba Father.

The Challenge

“You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.” says Jeremiah (12:2) as he talks to God.

He was talking about the people of Judah…..

but is he also describing you and me?

Do you talk about God while keeping your heart safely out of his reach?

Do I read God’s Word without letting his truth soak into my heart and mind so he can change me?

Have you experienced God touching your spirit and renewing your mind recently?  Today?  This week? This month?  This year?

Are you and I stuck on giving God lip service when what he really wants to do is totally transform our lives?

What will it take for us to open up our hearts…

take that next step…

stop just talking about God but sincerely turn over our lives to him,

and then watch him do something amazing with them?

Today is the day, dear Father.

Get Ready!

Be prepared!  Get ready!

Stand up and do what needs to be done!

God gave these directions to Jeremiah thousands of years ago as he began his prophetic ministry.  God also gives these directions to you and me each day as we go about our lives.  Always be prepared to love God and love others.  Be ready to share our experiences with the living God with whoever will listen.  Be ready to speak the truth when we get an opportunity.  Stand up against the lies of our culture.    

God tells us that he will give us strength for the things he asks us to do.

I can’t do it on my own.  You can’t do it on your own.  Do you ever feel powerless?  I know I do.

Then I realize I feel that way because I am forgetting to plug into my power source –  God.  I forget to ask for and receive his help.  No wonder I feel powerless!

I need to remember each day to ask for God’s strength..

for his wisdom….

for his peace.

“For I am with you and will rescue you.” declares my LORD.  Jeremiah 1:19.

Please help me remember to ask, Abba Father.

I am ‘Becoming’

I am ‘becoming’ something.

We are all on the path to ‘somewhere’. I decide what I am becoming and where I’m going by my choices each day. I am going one way or another – I’m not standing still.  If I’m not doing anything new – not growing – then I am moving backward as the world moves forward around me.

When I put my life in my Father God’s hands, he is able to mold me into the person he created me to be.

When you put your life in our Father’s hands, he is able to mold you, too, into the person he created you to be.

Isaiah is very clear about this, ” Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hand.” 64: 8.

Potter-at-Work1

When I let God change me and transform me, my life becomes a beautiful work of his hands.

I have watched God work in my life for many years – gradually changing my thinking and perspective so it more closely lines up with his.  I have been reading the entire Bible each year for the last 11 years and I continue to reap the rewards of committing this time and effort to my relationship with God.  The better I know his Word, the easier it is to hear God and let him mold me.  I look forward to many more years of God continuing to refine me – I am confident that his goal is to create a unique masterpiece of my life that brings glory to him.

My life – created by God.

Your life – created by God.

Will we be molded  and shaped by the Master’s hands?

Our choice.

I choose you, Abba Father.

Growing My Roots

“They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,

a planting of the Lord,

a display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 3.

I want to be an Oak of Righteousness.  A planting of the Lord.

May my life display even a tiny portion of his splendor!

God points out to us in Isaiah 61 what it means to be an Oak of Righteousness.  As I read the beginning of this chapter, it relates directly to our culture today.

Today, God’s Oaks of Righteousness are leading the way in their own spheres of influence in helping to reverse the tide of moral decay of our culture. They are working to strengthen our families and are sharing the love and truth of God to the people around them. They are so dedicated to God’s work that they refuse to get distracted by the mess and confusion of the world around us.

God is calling each one of us who are serious about our faith to rise up and be an Oak of Righteousness where he has planted us.

Yes – I can point fingers at politicians and lawmakers.  That’s the easy way out – the blame game.

Sure – I can get upset.  I can say all kinds of things about how bad our culture has become – complain, complain.

But what part of this do I own? And what am I doing about it?

What are you doing about the part God has given you?

How often am I talking to God about it, asking him to point out my next step in making a difference?

As we obey, we become a solid planting of the Lord with our roots sunk deep into His truth.  God hates wrong-doing and injustice.  He righteously fights these battles using us when we are in line with him.

God promises that our obedience will bring us double portions of his blessing and everlasting joy.    He extends these blessings to our children (awesome) and tells us that we will be acknowledged as ‘the people the Lord has blessed’. (vs 9).

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

This is Not My Home

This place is not where I belong.

As I read what God is saying to me in Isaiah, I realize that I am in exile from my real home.

Watching the violence continue to erupt each day in cities across the US,  it becomes increasingly clear how far away I am from home.  Seeing the bold lack of respect for authority, law and order confirms for me that this confused and evil world is not for me.

Witnessing the general lack of values and personal accountability in our culture makes me feel very uncomfortable – like I’m in a foreign land.  It’s also true that, because I have make personal choices which line up with God’s word, I get negatively ‘labeled’.  It appears that everyone else has a right to make choices for themselves except for those of us who put our faith in God.

No, this world is not my home.

I could go on about what’s wrong with our culture but the list is too long…

too discouraging.

Then God reminds me through Isaiah that he has not forgotten the exiles.  “I will not forget you.  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”  Isaiah 49:16.

And God assures me that, some day, my exile will end.  On that day, he will lead me out of this foreign place into my forever home where he has prepared a place for me.

I will finally be home, where I belong.

Thank you, Abba Father.