What Do I Believe?

Do I really believe God loves me unconditionally?

Do I really believe God is all-powerful and that nothing is impossible for him?

Do I really believe that God wants the best for me and is working everything out for my good?

Yes, I do.

And, because I believe these things, I am willing to live each day based on these truths.

I bet some of these same thoughts, questions and decisions must have been going through Mary’s mind as the Angel Gabriel told her she was going to give birth to a son who would be a great king and whose kingdom would never end.

What did she really believe?  Was she willing to accept this very tough, extremely supernatural assignment for her life with the calm assurance that God would keep all of his promises to her?

Mary’s faith was strong and sure.  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  Then the angel left her.

Right answer, Mary!

Does this challenge you?  It definitely challenges me.

God has given me a very tough road to travel following the death of my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 19, 2016.

It’s a very dark, grief-filled road with lots of hazards.

Do I believe that God can work even this evil and horrible event out for my good?  That’s a very difficult question.

And my answer is yes.

But the good that will come from this will be good based on God’s perspective which is not always my perspective.   You can probably imagine my perspective – I want Davey to still be here on earth, living less than 2 miles from me, dropping by later with his son to pick up my husband so they can all go to Home Depot like they did at least once a week.  That will never happen again.

God’s perspective is focused on eternity and he is teaching me some lessons I never wanted to learn about focusing myself on eternity as well.  I am realizing that people getting the chance to hear the messages of Davey’s legacy of love is a win for God.  The opportunities we are getting to share God’s love with others is a win for God.  Any chance I get to tell my story of God’s faithfulness to me and to my family  through this tragedy is a win for God.

And – as long as God is winning – I’m good.  I’ll submit.  I’ll trust.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Love you, Abba Father.

400 years of Silence

I can’t imagine it – God being silent for 400 years.

That’s the amount of time between the Old Testament and the New.   So it is said that God was silent.

But was he?  Really?

It’s hard for me to imagine that my Father God who loves us and cares for us so diligently each day would be quiet for 400 years.  I think it’s very possible that he was speaking and interacting with people at that time but none of it was meant to become part of his revelation to us so it was not included in the Bible.

When I think about how much I need God each day and knowing that there were some faithful people during that time as well, it doesn’t make sense that he was actually silent for 400 years.  It doesn’t sound like something he would do.

But we know that there were 400 years between the two parts of the Bible.  For some reason, God put in a significant break before he begins the account of his greatest Gift of all time – salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

Mark’s account says, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the son of God”.

John’s account says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

The Light of the World was arriving – we would never be the same.

Amen.  Hallelujah!

Thank you, Abba Father.

Stay Focused

Issues.

Problems.

Disruptions.

Distractions.

There are times when I am challenged on every side.  Does this happen to you?

And it happens more often when I’m trying to do something good, stretching out of my comfort zone to help others to do something God is asking me to do.

We know what this is, don’t we?  Spiritual warfare.

We know who this is – Satan.

He doesn’t like it when I’m trying to do something good for other people – especially because God is involved.  So Satan throws up roadblocks and distractions whenever and however he can.

As I read about Nehemiah’s constant problems while leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, its easy to see how much Satan didn’t like what Nehemiah was doing.  Nehemiah ran into issues every step of the way – their Samaritan neighbors discouraged the workers by constantly taunting them, the rich people acted unfairly towards the poor people causing a lot of distractions, and then their neighbors started to threaten to attack them.

I think its significant that Nehemiah wasn’t scared or discouraged by any of this.  He wasn’t whining or trying to blame anyone.  He was not distracted from the goal God gave him to rebuild the wall.

He prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

He didn’t ask God to get rid of all of the problems.  He asked for strength to take care of them with God’s help.

And the wall around Jerusalem, which had laid broken in pieces for many, many years, was rebuilt in 52 days.

“With the help of our God”.

Please strengthen my hands, Abba Father.

 

 

How Do I Prepare?

When something big is going to happen in my life, what do I do to prepare?

I’m a planner so my preparation is often focused on lists of to-do’s and steps to get it all done.

It makes me pause when I read Esther’s response after the famous words of her uncle, ‘For such a time as this.”  Her first reaction was to gather all the Jews and ask them to fast with her.  She still decided her strategy and planned banquets.  But her first response was to get God right in the middle of it.  The fasting would help all of them remember exactly who was in control and who had the power to deliver them from the disaster that was coming.

That’s a good reminder for me.  The lists and the planning can wait.  When big things are coming my way, my first response should be acknowledging to God my need for his guidance and participation.

“For such a time as this”.

Please remind me when I forget, Abba Father.

 

Let Me Be Strong – Zechariah 8

Let my hands be strong in doing your work, Father.

Let my feet be strong as they follow you in the right path.

Let my brain be strong as it makes you and your will my priorities, Abba.

Let my heart be strong in its devotion to you.

Let my ears be strong as they filter through the lies of my culture to understand and live out the truth of your word, Father.

Let my lips be strong in pleasing you and speaking love to others.

Let my eyes be strong as they focus on you, Abba.

Let my legs be strong to carry me through this earthly place of sin and evil and pain.

Let my arms be strong as I lift them toward heaven, stretching up as you reach down to touch me – to touch my life.

Let my knees be strong as I kneel to thank you for your faithfulness and love, Father.

Let my soul be strong, Abba, as I live confidently on your promises each day – every day – until the day you bring me home.

Please keep me strong, Father.

 

Carefully Consider

My priorities are important to God.  When he tells me, “love me first”, he means it.  If I miss that, I can expect consequences.

God explains this to us in Haggai when his people had their priorities messed up. “Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much but harvest little.   You eat but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.  You put on clothes but are not warm.  You earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

God’s people were selfishly putting their own work in front of finishing God’s temple and they were paying the consequences.

Painful consequences.

I don’t want these words to describe my life so I need to carefully consider my priorities.  I need to choose God first and prioritize his purposes and his plans.  That’s the only way I’m going avoid harvesting little or feeling like I never have enough.

When I can change my self-centered thinking to God-centered thinking, it’s not hard to stay in line with his priorities.  I know he loves me with a perfect love.  He wants the best for me and nothing is impossible for him.

After careful consideration, I choose God.  I choose his priorities.

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

It Has Been Decided

This is one of my favorite blogs from the first year after Davey was killed. MIss you, Davey. #8144loveyou

My Family Bleeds Blue

Our son, David, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.

These last 8  months have been the most difficult and painful time of my life.

One of the ways God has comforted me is through this truth – ” A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5.dave-and-grandma-at-northwestern

God has already decided which day will be the last day of your life here on earth and mine.

Knowing this helped me let go of my mother when she passed away 11 years ago.  We had a very close relationship and she was my role-model for how a Christian woman lives her life faithful to God – all the way to her last breath here on earth.  I realized, if God wanted her in heaven with him, then that’s what I…

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What Does It Mean?

It all connects.

Choices I make today result in consequences I have to deal with tomorrow….

and 10 years from now….

and 20 years from now.

My decisions are important.  I have to figure out ahead of time if my choices are going to take me to a place I want to be.

I need wisdom, right?  Some of this stuff is hard to decide.  So I go to God.  In James 1, God has promised to give me generous amounts of wisdom whenever I ask.  I just have to believe I have received it.  I need to trust him and get rid of any doubts.

How can I be so sure that it’s God talking to me and guiding instead of myself or  – even worse – Satan?  I have studied God’s word for many years and, when I am listening, I recognize his voice.  I know what he would say.  I know his truth and that’s what he uses to guide me.

It’s so much different that the lies of this world.  It’s easy to discern.

I love the story in Daniel of the human hand that appeared and wrote a message to King Belshazzar on the wall in the middle of his big party.  It was a warning.  The bad consequences of his choices had piled up and the King was going to pay the price with his life.  He died that night.

I obviously want to make better choices that King Belshazzar did.  So I go to God early on in my decision-making.  And – sometimes – he writes a warning on the wall in my mind.  “Don’t go there, you won’t like what happens.”  “Don’t do that, you won’t like the consequences.”

I love these warnings because he is always right (of course).  I really don’t want to go there.  I definitely don’t want to do that.  I need to make a better decision now so that I don’t end up in a place I never wanted to be.

It all connects.

Please give us your wisdom, Abba Father.

It’s Supernatural

I can’t explain it.  There are no logical and rational ways to describe the ‘God magic’ that happens in my life.  I have story after story of God interacting with my life and God intervening in my life.

One of the ways God constantly intervenes in my life is enabling me to memorize scripture.  I have a terrible memory.  I don’t remember names, I don’t remember dates, I don’t remember who wrote what or who sang what.  I have trouble remembering my own phone number sometimes.

But I can memorize scripture.  I do the legwork of getting out my cards hundreds of times and then God gradually etches his words on my brain.  I have memorized several chapters of the Bible including James 1 and now I’m halfway through James 2.  The whole book of James is my goal – unless God changes it.  Supernatural.  It’s not me.

I had a family situation a while ago where I thought I needed to take care of something.  I thought I needed to call someone and get something figured out.  I was really concerned about it and kept praying about it but it looked like nothing was happening.  I kept putting this call on my ‘to do’ list for each day and it never got done.  That’s very unusual for me so I realized God was stopping me from making this call.  Then I got a call from the family member involved and they had totally taken care of the situation in the way that I was going to suggest.  How awesome that this person decided to do the right thing on their own (with some serious nudging from God).  My job was just to encourage them and pat them on the back!  Perfect!

God had it handled.  I learned a lot from that situation.  I have to give God time to orchestrate his answers.  I have to pray and keep my mouth shut.  I have to actually give situations to God without taking them back.  I realized I always want him to work his ‘magic’, it’s  better that way.

So, when I read in Daniel that Daniel has some of the same vision that Ezekiel had, it’s not hard to recognize God doing his supernatural thing.  Their visions were extremely similar even though Daniel’s was many years after Ezekiel’s.  I’m not surprised.  If its true, it’s true.  They were visions about the ‘end times’ so they are still true today.

The visions were about the ongoing battle between good and evil – God and Satan.  We are in the middle of that same battle today and this conflict will not be finished until the world ends.

Meanwhile, when we have faith and trust in our powerful Creator God, we get to experience the supernatural.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I Need to Prepare!

It’s ominous.

It’s scary.

And it’s very real.

In the beginning of the book of Job, Satan meets God in heaven and tells him he had just come ‘from roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Oh, yeah.  Satan is very real.

And he’s close.  He whispers lies into our ears – constantly.  He encourages us to focus on ourselves and do what we want.  Forget about what God wants.  This is our natural inclination so it’s easy to do.

Too easy.

Satan persistently whispers a list of our past mistakes and failures into our ears – trying to keep us feeling powerless and ‘less’.  He wants us to forget that Jesus died for those sins and God no longer sees them.  They are forgiven – past, present and future.

When God looks at us, he sees his children, whom he loves with a perfect love.  Thank you, Abba Father.

I cannot listen to Satan.

You cannot listen to Satan.

We are forgiven.  When we plug into our all-powerful and loving God, nothing is impossible.  I believe that.  Do you?

So I need to be prepared to fight off Satan.  You need to be prepared to fight.

God tells us in Ephesians to put on his armor because our struggles are not against flesh and blood.  We need to put on the –

Belt of truth.

Breastplate of righteousness.

Sandals of Peace.

Shield of Faith.

Helmet of Salvation.

Sword of the Spirit.

This is how I need to prepare.  This is how you need to prepare.  Put it all on.  Wear it everyday.  We need to let the armor of God mold around our hearts and minds so Satan can’t mess with them.

Be prepared.

Satan’s next attack is coming.

Please help us put on your armor everyday, Abba.  Guard our hearts and minds.