What!?

A human hand – unattached to a body – appeared and wrote a message on the wall.

What?!

Daniel tells us this actually happened in the middle of King Belshazzar’s huge banquet!  “Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace.” Daniel 5:5.

You may have heard someone say the phrase ‘I can read the writing on the wall’.  I tend to use this phrase when I’m making a prediction of how a situation is going to work out. I had no idea until the first time I read the entire Bible that this came from the book of Daniel.

After he got over the shock of seeing the hand, King Belshazzar realized he had no idea of what the message meant. But he knew that it obviously was very important. So he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.  Daniel read the writing and told the king that God was bringing the king’s reign to an end because, ” ..you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” Daniel 8:23.

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.” Daniel 5: 27.

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 disbelief and lack of obedience. Our busyness which causes us to ignore God.

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 eternal separation from God.  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.

Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus offers a gift of grace to each one of us – that’s his part.  Our part is accepting his free gift. Jesus wants to move the scales in our favor.

When we put our trust in Jesus, we become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’. Jesus did it for you and I….

for all time,

for all who will believe and receive.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

My Plan

Do you have a plan for your life?

I know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.

As I read Psalm 89, my plan jumps right off the page- “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” vs 1.  I will tell everyone I know about how I have experienced your faithfulness all my life, Abba Father.

I will talk about your perfect love for me and the abundant blessings you have showered down on my life.

I will walk with you all of the days I have left on this earth, Father, until the day we walk into heaven together, hand in hand.

I will find my peace in your strength.  I will find my joy in your love and faithfulness.  I will find my strength in your righteousness and justice.

I will walk in the light of your presence each day, Father. 

And I will continue to sing of your great love forever.

Amen and Amen.

It’s a Struggle

Have you been there?

I have.  I am still struggling with the most extreme adversity I have ever experienced.  On May 18, 2016 my world exploded.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on that day.

I have experienced quite a lot of death in my life but this is – by far – the hardest.

Davey was a unique young man who was dedicated to serving his community and dedicated to living life to its fullest with fun, going everywhere and anywhere, while collecting a vast number of friendships. He did all of this with an obvious devotion and love for his family.  My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his wife and 2 children the last 5 years of his life.  We talked with him daily and saw him almost every day for one reason or another.

I don’t have the words for how painful this last 5 1/2 years have been.  It defines adversity.  Living with the reality of my circumstances is a struggle.

As I read the book of Job in the Bible, I can relate.  Job experiences the shock of getting terrible news that all of his children have been killed.  I can relate.   Then, after the first horrible news,  painful things just kept happening.  I can relate.  When people around him started saying strange and wrong things to him, I can relate.  Job questioned God and wondered why this was all happening to him.  I can relate.  He was overwhelmed with sorrow.  I can relate.

It’s a huge struggle.

Job was confident that his redeemer lived and he was confident that – in the end – his redeemer wins.  I can relate.  He knew that God was in total control and all-powerful.  I can relate.

Job committed his life to being faithful to God in spite of his circumstances.  I can relate. He praised God in the middle of all of the pain he was experiencing.  I can relate.  He knew that is was wise to turn from evil and love God.  I can relate.

Job had a long conversation with God.  I can relate – I have had many long conversations with God about my son’s death.  Job confessed that he did not understand.  I can relate – I will never completely understand this.  Job’s eyes were opened in a new way to the reality that God has a plan and purpose for each of us and that God’s ways are not our ways.  I can relate.

God gave Job peace in the middle of his pain and blessed him.

I can relate.

Thank you for helping me in my struggle, Abba Father.

I See His Work

What do you do in a thunderstorm? Check out the clouds? Watch the wind rip through the trees? Count the seconds between the flash of the lightening and the roll of thunder?

I recently spent two weeks by Lake Okoboji in Iowa which is near where I grew up. It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by lots of vacation homes, condos and hotels. One of the days I was there it rained all day – it was raining when we woke up and still raining when we went to bed.

This reminded me of one of the my favorite things about this part of the country. It’s farmland as far as you can see but there is no irrigation here – God himself waters this land. I remember times as a kid when the farmers needed more rain. So we had a prayer meeting. And when we had a prayer meeting for rain, the large church I grew up in was full – wall to wall people, standing room only. Everyone around my hometown knew who watered their crops and our town’s economy depended on those crops.

As I read God’s Word in the book of Job I am remembering what it felt like sitting in my cabin by the lake a couple of weeks ago, listening to it rain and thunderstorm all day, saying ‘wow’ when the thunder clapped very loudly right over us and watching the bright show of lightening cracking across the lake.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;

he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’

and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour”.

So that everyone he has made may know his work,

he stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;

They remain in their dens.

The tempest come out from it’s chamber,

the cold from the driving winds.

The breath of God produces ice,

and broad waters become frozen.

He loads the clouds with moisture;

he scatters his lightening through them.

At his direction they swirl around

over the face of the earth

to do whatever he commands them.” Job 37: 5-12.

God definitely had the attention of everyone around the lake that day. It was impossible to ignore his work.

Do you know the benefits that God has packed into a rainstorm like that?

  • the obvious one is the rainfall – growing the crops and providing grass to feed the animals.
  • rainstorms are natural air-conditioners – cooling the air and the land.
  • lightening provides nitrogen which fertilizes the soil and provides protein for the animals.
  • rainstorms remove pollution in the air, cleaning it.

I may not understand a lot of things God does, but when I feel the rain, hear the thunder and see the lightening, I know that God is providing for us and taking care of us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Hard Truth

I love all the blessings God has showered down on me. I cherish all of the great people God has brought into my life. I appreciate all the awesome things God has given me to enjoy on this earth.

It’s so easy to be happy and praise God when I focus on all of the good things in my life.

But how do I react when something bad happens in my life? The book of Job in the Bible is a great one to study when devastation shakes up our world.

After Satan kills all of Job’s children, Job responds with “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away: may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21 – 22.

Hard, hard truth. All of us at sometime experience ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’ part of this truth. I didn’t know how horrible this could be until my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. God gave me Davey for 34 1/2 precious years and then God took him away.

A tragedy. A huge loss that filled my world with grief and pain. It has been a tsunami that continues to smash dreams I had and crush hopes of what my future with Davey in my life was going to look like.

I don’t like it. I don’t understand it. God and I have had many conversations about it and I have come to one conclusion.

I submit. I submit to God’s will. I submit to his purpose. I will never like it, and I probably will never understand it. So I submit.

God is perfect. He is good, all the time. He wants the best for me. He is working all things out for my good. When I filter all of my circumstances through these truths, God gives me peace and the strength to face a future here on earth without Davey.

The LORD gives and he takes away.

May the name of the LORD be praised.

Here’s the Answer

Why is there so much evil in the world?

Why are our families being torn apart?

Why is there so much anger and hatred in our country?

Why are addictions the plague of our century?

Why are innocent children being abused and killed?

Why are we living in a worldwide pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on our emotional, spiritual, physical and economic well-being?  Why now?

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 I’m seeing and that’s what you are seeing – the work of Satan.  He has convinced a whole lot of people to ignore the truth – just rant emotionally about whatever has upset you today. Forget about being kind, loving and forgiving, and just focus on yourself – that’s all that matters

Satan smiles whenever we believe the lies swirling all around us in our culture.  He loves it when we consult Google instead of God when deciding what’s right and wrong, good or bad.

He enjoys watching us wreck our relationships and our marriages with our selfishness.  He encourages us to be impatient, impulsive and immature.

Wow!  He is really getting a kick out of the lack of respect for authority that is growing in our country.  It’s a win-win for him because everyone else loses.

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. I’m asking myself – is there anything, good or bad, that Satan has placed in my life to keep me from spending time with God? Have you asked yourself this question?

Satan is very busy roaming…..

going back and forth…

back and forth…

today…..

everyday,

over our world, and our country and our neighborhoods and our homes.

Please use us to overcome evil with your good,  Abba Father.

My Special Possession – 2021

Do you have a special possession?

If someone asked me that, I would have to think awhile because I’m not very attached to “things”.   I’d probably say the ring that my mother left to me when she went home to heaven is special to me. It became invaluable to me after she was gone.

My own wedding ring is also important to me.  It symbolizes almost 40 years of love and commitment between my husband and I.  Every five years we changed or added to my ring so when I look at it, I see the history of us building a marriage that has lasted through many storms.  After our son who was a Phoenix Police Officer was killed in the line of duty, I added some blue sapphires onto my wedding ring in honor and remembrance of a great son and the awesome man he grew up to be.  Precious.

My eyes were opened to my real answer to that question several years ago as I was reading what God says in Ezekiel 44, ” I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel: I will be their possession.” God was all they needed.  God took care of them and he didn’t want them to be distracted by other possessions.

Wow!  This applies to me!  God takes care of me and provides for me.  He doesn’t want me to be distracted by possessions. My relationship with God is my most prized possession.  I can’t imagine life without him.  There is nothing I own –  my mother’s ring and my ring included – that gives me the love, joy and strength that God gives me.  Nothing else gives me the forgiveness and freedom that only comes from God.

Yes, God is my special possession.  My relationship with him is so much more precious and perfect than anything I could ever buy or own.

Many of you read this blog a couple of years ago when I initially wrote it. It amazes me to look back and see how God was preparing me through his Word for something that was going to happen.

Last year my wedding ring was stolen. One of the stones on the ring was loose so the jeweler sent the ring in to fix the stone before I lost it. The ring disappeared on the way.

I lost the whole ring. Gone. Over 40 years of building this ring with my husband stolen from me. Over 40 years of never taking the ring off except at night because I didn’t want to lose it. I had one spot and one spot only I put it if it wasn’t on my finger. I never put it in my pocket, I never put it by the sink. I knew the easiest way to lose it was to take it off so I didn’t, I just cleaned it regularly.

I would have been devastated when I got the call that it was stolen if I had not already worked through this truth about my most special possession. God reminded me that he was still walking beside me and would never leave me. His love and care and grace can never be stolen away like my ring was.

The jeweler replaced my ring with a very nice ring that looks just like my original one. It’s not ‘my’ ring but it reminds me every day that my relationship with God is my most precious possession and it can never be taken away from me.

I live my life in gratitude for all you are, Abba Father, and for all you have done for me.

In the Middle of the Fire

I don’t know how I missed it.  This very important detail was never included in the children’s version of this story.

It’s a well-known Biblical account. 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 soldiers 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 Chronological Bible each year. 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 ‘the son of the gods’. Daniel 3:25.  I believe it was Jesus, sent by God to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  They walked through the fire together.

The fire didn’t stop when the three men were thrown in.

The king didn’t change his mind at the last minute.

An army of angels didn’t swoop down from heaven to save the day.

God had an unimaginable number of ways he could have saved these 3 men.  He chose to send a personal rescuer into the fire with them.  Jesus walked 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…..

the list goes on.

My biggest personal fire was when my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  All of my expectations of what the rest of my life looked like were destroyed on that day.  The flames of that fire are still burning up pieces of my life, leaving mountains of painful ash behind.

But Jesus was there.   And he is here as I continue to walk on this very tough road piled high with grief and loss.

I have discovered that, as I remain faithful in the fire, God is using this journey to grow my trust in him, grow my perseverance and grow my faith.

My loss and pain will not go away this side of heaven but God has given me peace and a purpose.  I’m thankful for the opportunities he gives me to share what I am learning about God’s faithfulness as he walks with me daily,

in the middle of the fire.

Thank you, Abba Father. 

Really Living

A valley of bones.

Millions of bones.

When God breathed into them – “they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.” Ezekiel 37:10.

Wow!!

Growing up in church, I always thought this vision of Ezekiel should be preached around Halloween because a valley full of dry bones suddenly connecting and standing up is weird as well as scary.

How time changes things! Now I love this visual because it’s exactly what happened when I turned over my whole heart to God.  His breath went deep into my soul and – for the first time – I was truly alive.  I have an eternal purpose.  I have been re-created into one of the soldiers in his army – wearing his armor and working hard next to my spiritual brothers and sisters to share the Good News and push back evil.  Each day, I read and study God’s word – getting to know him better and listening as he speaks into my life.

Are you looking for purpose? Are you looking for guidance? Are you looking for hope?

God gives me hope.  Not the ‘I wish’ kind of hope.  This hope is cemented into my heart by the promises of God.  I know who is in control and I know he is working everything out for my good.  I know where I’m going when I leave this earth.  I know who wins in the end.

God’s redeeming love has turned my dry bones into something good and useful.  His breath moves in my heart and soul – bringing new life each day.

There are no dry bones here.

What about you?  Would you like to experience a new breath of God’s spirit in your soul?

Thank you for your breath of real life, Abba Father.

Showers of Blessing

The old hymns bring back great memories for me.

I was raised in a conservative Christian home and a very conservative Christian church in the Midwest.  I don’t remember knowing anyone in my little home town who didn’t go to church regularly.

My father was a talented musician who owned and operated a car body repair shop for most of his life.  He had a beautiful, deep baritone voice.  My mother had a nice alto voice and harmonized well.  My youngest brother had a great tenor voice.  Unfortunately, I also sing alto so my family quartet was missing a soprano but there were many good sopranos in our church congregation.  So listening to my family sing the old hymns in church every Sunday morning was a treat – definitely my favorite part of the service.

Those great old hymns reverberated off the walls as my church family sang them with energy and confidence.  And my family contributed a beautiful part of it.

Great memories!

My little town also had ‘Hymn Sings’ at the town ballpark during the summer.  We would fill up the bleachers with people from all different churches while the organizers set up microphones and amplifiers on a stage over the pitcher’s mound.  They hauled in an organ (no drums or guitars here) and handed out song sheets.  People would yell out favorites and we would fill the summer sky with praises to God for 2 hours or more.

I would sing harmony with my mom – no music, just by hearing it.  I realized many years ago that I don’t know the melody of some of the old hymns – just the harmony.  But I know the words by memory and I also have the second and third verses of many of them etched in my brain.

As I now read Ezekiel 34, these great memories come rolling through my brain as God says through Ezekiel, “there will be showers of blessing”. Ezekiel 34:26.

One of the many blessings God has given me is a long family legacy of faith and trust in God which creates awesome memories like these.

Thank you for your blessings, Abba Father.