The Writing on the Wall

A human hand appears in the middle of King Belshazzar’s great banquet and it writes a message on the wall.

This would definitely get my attention.sept-21-2016-writing-a

And this is where we get the saying, ‘ I can read the writing on the wall’.  Many of us don’t know that this comes from the Bible.

King Belshazzar could not read the handwriting on the wall so he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.

Daniel read the writing on the wall and told the king that God was bringing his reign to an end because the king had not acknowledged God as sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth.

That very night, the message on the wall was fulfilled and Belshazzar was killed.

One part of the message on the wall was ‘Tekel’ which means you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

The bad news for all of us is – our scales don’t look any better.  Our rebellion.  Our need for control.  Our self-centeredness.  Our busyness which causes us to ignore God – not have enough time for him.

The writing on our wall would have the same message…..

except for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave us an ‘out’.

He sent his perfect son, Jesus, to save us from the eternal separation from God which we have earned.  The entire Bible is a love story about how God created us in his image and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us.

God offers a gift of grace to each one of us which we first have to accept in order to get the scales moved in our favor.

Through Christ’s sacrifice, we can become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’ because Jesus did it all for us….

for all time.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Psalm 89A, 2016

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever.

I will tell everyone about your faithfulness to me.sept-18-2016-psalm-89a

I am confident that your love for us has no end.  You say in your Word that we, as believers, are your chosen ones.  We are a part of your church which is the Bride of Christ.

We join with all creation to praise you, LORD!

No one and nothing compares with you.  You are more awesome than all who surround you.  You rule over the sea and the waves.  The heavens and earth are yours and everything in them.

You created the north and the south.sept-18-2016-psalm-89a-b

You are powerful and strong.

You define justice and righteousness as well as love and faithfulness.

We are blessed when we walk in your light and truth, LORD.

We rejoice all day long because we know you.  You are our strength and our protector.

We will sing of your great love forever, Abba Father!

How Great!

How Great is our God!sept-16-2016-how-great-a

We can’t understand him!  His existence will never end.

Raindrops fall at his command – purified as they pour out of the clouds.   His thunder rolls out of the heavens and he scatters his lightening – sending it down to the depths of the sea.

His lightening hits its mark.  His thunder announces the approaching storm so that all creatures know its coming.

His majestic voice roars with the thunder – resounding out over the earth.  His voice is marvelous – beyond our understanding.

He sends the snow and the mighty downpour of rain to stop people from their labor so they can see and know his mighty work.sept-16-2016-how-great-b

‘The breath of God produces ice and the broad waters become frozen.’ (Job 37: 10 ).

He loads the clouds with moisture and his lightening flashes through them as they swirl over the face of the earth according to his commands.  His clouds can punish people.  They can also water his earth and show his love.

How Great is Our God!

We love you, Abba Father.

 

It Has Been Decided

As many of you know, our son, David, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.  These last 4 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 wanted for her.

Ten years ago I found myself in ICU with twelve blood clots in my lungs – a life-threatening situation.  God told me clearly that I wasn’t going to die from that and I didn’t – even though 5 doctors told me the blood clots should have killed me.davey-and-grandma-rolls

It just wasn’t my day.

I know that God has reasons for picking May 19 as Davey’s final day here on earth. I may never understand those reasons but I trust God.   And, since God wants him in heaven, that’s what I want for him.

Knowing that this date was determined before Davey was born helps me avoid needless regrets…like –

  • I wish he hadn’t gone on that call.davey-and-mom
    • It wouldn’t have mattered.  This was his day.
  • I wish he hadn’t gone to work that day.
    • It would have happened no matter what he was doing.
  • I wish he hadn’t been a police officer.
    • He was born to be a police officer and he died honorably, serving his community and doing what he loved to do.  He wouldn’t have wanted to live or die any other way.

It was decided.  There is no ‘wishing’ something else had happened.  God decreed the number of Davey’s days here on earth and then he took Davey home.

Now, standing a foundation of God’s love and strength and grace, the rest of us are left on the earth to figure out how to move forward.  We need to figure out why we’re still here – what is God’s purpose for keeping us here?  And then we need to do it….until the day arrives that is already decided for us.

Meanwhile, through the tears, we focus on loving God and loving each other.

A bigger chunk of my heart is now in heaven with you, Abba Father.

He Is Roaming the Earth

Why is there so much evil in the world?

sept-8-2016-he-is-roaming-the-earthWhy are our families being torn apart?

Why are addictions the plague of our century?

Why are innocent children being abused and killed?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Satan takes the credit for all of this in the first chapter of Job.

He tells God that he just got back from “roaming the earth, going back and forth on it.” (vs 7 )

And Satan leaves a wide path of destruction wherever he goes.

That’s what we’re seeing – the work of Satan.

Satan smiles whenever we lie.

He smiles when we do anything that wrecks a relationship or a marriage.

He smiles when we are impatient.  (Oww!  These all relate to me but this one hits the bullseye).

He smiles when we are self-centered and focus on #1 (ourselves).

Satan smiles when he can do anything to distract us from our relationship with God.  He’ll even bring good things into our lives if they will lure us away from God.

Satan is roaming……

today…..

everyday…..

going back and forth……

back and forth.

We need a full set of your spiritual armor each day, Abba Father.

 

Then There Were Four

It’s a well-known Biblical account.September 4 2016 then there were 4

Three men refused to worship the evil king’s golden idol so the king threw them into a blazing furnace.  The furnace was so hot that it killed the solders who got close enough to throw the men in.

Here’s a detail of the story that I missed until I started reading the entire Bible.   Not sure why I missed it – maybe it was left out of the children’s version of this story🙂

The king looked into the furnace and saw 4 men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed.

4 men – not 3.

The king called the 4th person an angel.  I’ve heard others say it was Jesus.  Whoever it was, he was sent by God to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a personal way – they walked in the fire together.

There wasn’t a long magic wand waved in heaven.

The furnace didn’t break when they were thrown it.

The fire didn’t turn to ice.

God had an unimaginable number of ways he could have saved these 3 men.

And he chose to send his rescuer personally into the fire with them.

To walk with them- just like he walks with us when we are in the middle of a fire in our lives.

Our fires can look like failure….

grief……

disease……

disappointment….

betrayal…..

and so much more.

Our God walks in the fire with us – protecting us and guiding us.

We often don’t get right out of the fire.  We end up living in it and walking around in it for awhile.

When we remain faithful in the fire, God uses this time to grow our character, grow our perseverance and grow our faith.

In our lives, God doesn’t always take the fire away – but he gives us peace in the fire.  And he gives us opportunities to share with others what we are learning about God’s faithfulness as we walk together in the fire.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father.

Rebuilt and Replaced

The bright light of restoration regularly weaves itself through the bloodshed and violence of the Old Testament.

God’s restoration…..of us.Sept 2 2016 a new spirit - this one

Ezekiel’s words of condemnation  for idolatry and rebelliousness suddenly morph into a love story (Chapter 36) as God promises to sprinkle water on us to clean us from our impurities.

God promises to give us a new heart and a new spirit.  He promised the Israelites that he would put his spirit in them.   Today, he does that immediately when we accept salvation through Jesus Christ.  God’s Spirit lives in us, helping us to obey when we listen and respond to his directions.

God promises to rebuild the things that are ruined in our lives.  He promises that the desolation of our souls will be replaced by a fruitful, beautiful garden like the Garden of Eden.  The destroyed pieces of our lives will come back alive.sept 2 2016 a new spirit b

Then those around us will know “that I, the LORD, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate.  I, the LORD, have spoken and I will do it.” (vs 36).

The ruined rebuilt.

The desolation replaced.

Does any of this sound good to you?

Thank you for your restoring love and grace, Abba Father.

No Action

We hear the words,

and sing the songs,

and enjoy the beautiful music.

Do we put the message we hear into practice?

Do we just attend church?  Or are we participating in worship?  There is a big difference.

Have our hearts changed and shifted towards God when we leave our worship service?

If not…..why did we go?

God tells us in Ezekiel 33 that he expects us to hear his words and put them into practice. Sept 1 2016 no action

He tells Ezekiel that the Israelites didn’t care about what he had to say to them.  They just showed up to hear Ezekiel because he played his instrument well and he sang love songs with his beautiful voice.

God requires more than that from us.  His Word is designed to transform us into the people he created us to be.  When we open our hearts and actually put his word into action, God’s redeeming power moves in our lives and changes us.

Today is a good day for us to put God’s Word into action.

Please move us closer to you, Abba Father.

Great Faithfulness

We are not consumed by our sadness…

or our problems..

or the chaos in our world.

Because God is always loving and caring for us.

One of my special joys in reading through the Bible every year is when we read words that were used in the old famous hymns.  I was raised in a musical, conservative Christian home so these hymns bring back precious memories.

We read in Lamentations 3 that God promises to be faithful to us.  August 30 2016 Great Faithfulness

And, as the sun rises each morning, I am reminded of his promises.

His compassions never fail – we receive more grace and love every morning.

He is never late ( even though it can sometimes appear that way to us).

He is never tired.

He is never distracted.

Whenever doubts about God enter my mind, all I have to do is look back.

And I see God’s faithfulness to me day after day, year after year.

Even when I wandered, God never left me.

He never stopped loving me and caring for me.

Just like he cares for me today.

And I know I can count on him to love me and care for me all of the rest of the days I walk on this earth…and on into heaven.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father!

A Desolate Wasteland

Empty…

Deserted…

Dark.

There are times when our souls feel like desolate wastelands.

The light is gone.

The joy is gone.

Why did I wake up this morning?

God promises in Jeremiah 33 and many other places in his Word that he can restore our joy and gladness.  He can make us prosper again… when we turn back to him and let him guide us where we should go.August 22 2016 a desolate wasteland

He has promised, so it will happen when we do our part.

And then we will add our voices to the voices of the Israelites thousands of years ago as they brought their thank offerings to the house of the LORD, saying,

“Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,

for the LORD is good;

his love endures forever.”

Thank you for giving us your eternal love, Abba Father.