Beyond Measure

This doesn’t look like a good thing.

It doesn’t feel anything like a blessing.

What happened in my life is too hard and sad to ever have a good outcome.

But what it feels like and looks like is not all that’s happening.  God is orchestrating his will through the tough circumstances in my life.  He is planning the best future for me and it’s obvious that this future looks nothing like I thought it would.

When my son was killed, my plans and dreams blew apart and the only option I had was to hold on tight to my Rock.  I trust that my Father God knows what he’s doing.  Even though I don’t like it, I choose to trust.

Joseph’s story in Genesis encourages me.  He experienced many dark, confusing and cold places – and God was with him each time.  When Joseph finally was put in charge of all Egypt, he began to store grain in preparation for the famine which God had revealed to him was coming.  God blessed Joseph’s efforts to the point that he stopped keeping records of the amount of grain ‘because it was beyond measure’.

As we read on in the story, we see that God’s plan to save Joseph’s family from starvation during the famine was also ‘beyond measure’.  The plan started way back when Joseph was a teenager and only God could have put all of the puzzle pieces together in the way that he did.  Only God could bring this much good out of the evil his brothers intended when they sold Joseph as a slave.

I am a witness to the fact that God is still bringing good out of evil.  I trust that, like Joseph, God is with me and I will be blessed ‘beyond measure’ as he completes his will in my life.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Lies and Trickery

Saying things that aren’t true in order to get what we want.

Changing the facts a little to avoid dealing with the consequences for choices we have made.

Making it look like something it’s not in order to get our way.

Lies and trickery.  This all sounds pretty bad when it’s listed out like this.

None of us really do any of this – do we?  Are we tempted?

I have a very strategic mind which means all of the dots in my life connect.  I can see how each choice and decision connect to each other and where they are going to take me.  I can see how I got here and I can tell you where the dots are going.  It’s almost like being able to tell the future.

I am aware that not everyone’s brain works like this and, if I wanted to, I could use this to manipulate others into doing what I want them to do.  Trickery. Deception.  I don’t want to be a manipulator so I’ve worked hard at not using this strength to ‘trick’ anyone.

I don’t want people around me to feel like they’ve been manipulated into doing what I want.

When I read Abraham and Sarah’s story in Genesis, I definitely don’t want to leave a legacy of deception and trickery to my family and friends like they did.  Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife.  Sarah manipulated Abraham into having a son with her servant and then she decided both of them needed to go.  Their children and grandchildren continued this tradition of trickery as they lied to and tricked each other over hundreds of years for personal gain.

As we read through Genesis, we’re able to see all the pain and separation and distrust and suspicion that this legacy caused …….. from generation to generation.

I don’t want that in my family and relationships.  So I choose to be honest and truthful – even when it’s hard.

What about you?

Please help us to be honest and truthful, Abba Father.

Expecting An Answer

I don’t want to miss it.

I need to be watching expecting a response.

After I finish praying, my eyes should be wide open, watching for what God is going to do.

Because he answers.

In Genesis, Abraham sent his servant back to his homeland to find a bride for his son, Isaac.  When the servant reached the well outside of the town he was travelling to, he prayed to God, asking for success in finding the right bride.

“Before he was finished praying…”, Rebekah arrived at the well.

Rebekah has been chosen by God to become Isaac’s wife.  And she showed up at the well while the servant was still praying.

Does God answer my prayers like this?

Does he answers your’s like this?

I know he does this for me.  Some times, he changes my perspective while I’m praying and I realize during my prayer that he has already provided an answer.  Other times, he responds right away in the next thing that happens to me.  And other prayers he answers by opening up my eyes so I can watch him orchestrate the answer.  These are ‘wait’ answers because it’s not the right time yet.  These responses can take months to come together but they are always supernatural and always good.

James tells us to pray expecting an answer.

Open our eyes.

Watch.

We just asked the Creator of the Universe to intervene in our life.

Let’s not miss it when he does.

Thank you for answering our prayers, Abba Father.

Stop! Don’t Do It!

Where I decide to go matters.

Who I hang out with matters.

How I use my time matters.

Where I spend my money matters.

When I make good choices, even better things come by way.  When I make bad choices, I experience the negative consequences.  And that is never fun.

It’s interesting to me how God forgives my sins but he doesn’t take away all of the negative consequences of my sins.  He is a good Father and he wants me to learn from my mistakes – so he doesn’t take away the bad consequences but he helps me deal with them.

Why do you think he tells me to ask for wisdom in James 1?  Because I really need it!  Please give me more wisdom, Father! 

I have paid the consequences for some of the my bad decisions for a very long time.  And I have learned –

I have learned that there is a direct correlation between bad choices and bad consequences.  It’s not luck.  It’s not someone else’s fault.  I did it to myself.

I have learned how quickly bad decisions can become nightmares which can follow me around for a long time.

My mistakes remind me just how bad my choices can be and they keep me more humble.  No one is exempt.

Lot’s story in Genesis 13 has me wanting to yell, “Stop!  Bad Choice!  Don’t do it!”

Abram (later renamed Abraham) and Lot were nomads travelling around together at this point with their families and their herds of animals.  Their group got too large for the amount of food and water available so Abram talked to Lot about splitting up.  Abram gave Lot first choice of land.

Of course, Lot chose the fertile ground of the Jordan valley leaving the less desirable hill country of Canaan for Abram.

Bad decision, Lot!  Lot settled his family and flocks by Sodom which was such a wicked city that God later rained fire on it and destroyed it.  Lot’s decision to live there eventually caused him to have to flee, losing his wife along with everything he owned.

On the surface, it looked like an easy decision to live in a great location.  But the consequences of this decision were monumental.

It shouldn’t have been that easy.  There were lots of flags telling Lot that was not the best place for him.  He either chose to ignore them or didn’t even think that hard about it.

Lesson learned – many of our decisions should not be as easy as we think they are – especially if we want to avoid the negative consequences of a bad decision.

Please give us wisdom, Abba Father.

Open Doors

Closed doors.

My life has been a series of God opening doors and closing doors.  I wonder what doors he will open in 2018?  I’m sure there will be some that close.

When I understand that God is opening a door and guiding me down a specific path, I tell him ‘I’ll go’ and I add, ‘But close the door if I’ve got any part of your message wrong.”

Then I will move.

I’m not always sure of all the details so asking him to close the door if I don’t have it right gives me confidence that I’m on the right path.

Because I have seen him close the door if I misunderstood.  I have seen him close the door is it was something I wanted and I talked myself into thinking it was God’s direction.  I have seen him close the door if it wasn’t the right time – yet.

He also encourages me to keep moving when I’m on the right track by opening up more doors.  Recently, my family and friends have started the David Glasser Foundation to honor and continue the work of my son who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty last year.  The doors God has been opening for this foundation are amazing!  We have all seen them and we continue to see them.  God has made it crystal clear to us that we are on the right track.

Have you ever asked God to open or close doors?

For me, this works much better than asking for signs.  I know God speaks and guides us in a multitude of ways and he knows I am easily motivated by opened doors. I really like seeing a door close as well if it’s not the way I should be going.

One of the keys for me is to ask and then watch carefully.  Because God answers.

As we start another new year, I am reading ‘In the Beginning’ of the Chronological Bible again – for the 7th time.  I noticed a line I don’t remember ever reading before.  In Genesis 7 right before the flood began, Noah and his family entered the ark along with the ‘pairs of all creatures that have breath in them.”

Then –

“The Lord shut him in.”

God shut the door.  It wasn’t like the movies where Noah had figured out how to close the door himself.

God reached down and shut the door.

I can imagine Noah standing there, watching this big, wooden door close slowly right in front of him.  If I were him and I needed any more proof that God was in control of whatever was happening, I would have been convinced.

And I am convinced.

Because I have watched God open and close doors in my life this same supernatural way.  God has always been in control and he is still in control as we move forward into whatever is coming our way in 2018.

Are you convinced?

Thank you for your faithfulness, Abba Father.

 

Why?

Why me?

Why now?

Why more?

We often ask these questions when trials and tough issues come our way.

When I ask this question, God gives me answers.  One of the answers is Romans 5.  “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

I have learned to watch for God moving in my life as I’m persevering through trials.  Where is he re-molding me?  What thoughts is he renewing in my mind through this suffering?  What is he washing out of my life through all of these tears?

I know he is building my faith as I persevere because it’s never more obvious to me how much I need him than when I’m going through a painful experience.  And I have watched him strengthen my character as I persevere.  He reveals areas of weakness in my thinking and replaces them with his truth.  He tests my convictions and transforms me as I ask for wisdom in my trials.

Through all of this, he gives me hope.  I can see him working.  My trust in God grows as I watch him bring light out of the dark sufferings in my life.  He has a purpose.  He has a plan as he draws me closer to him.

As I count on him, God covers the pain with his grace and love – every day.

This is why.

Thank you for answering my question, Abba Father.

Fighting My Battle Well

It’s not easy to fight the battle well.

It’s not easy to consistently stay in line with God and keep the faith.

It’s not easy when so many others around me reject God,

or shipwreck their faith with really bad decisions.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul challenges Timothy to fight his battle well and hold onto his faith.  And then he tells Timothy to pray for all people, including the kings and all of those in authority.

Pray.

How much different would our country be if everyone prayed for our government leaders instead of criticizing them and spending all of our energy spreading the scandals?  I think we would be pleasantly surprised by how much God can do in correcting the things that are wrong in our government and in our world.  If we would pray.

Paul tells us that our prayers please God who wants all people to be saved by knowing the truth.  “Therefore, I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.”

It’s almost the new year.  Let’s fight the battle well in 2018.

May the way we fight the battle please you, Abba Father.

 

A Christmas Blessing – Colossians 1, 2017

I have not stopped praying for you.

I have asked God to help you know and understand the purpose he has planned for you.  May his Spirit give you wisdom for the journey.

May you live a life that pleases our Father God – spreading love and joy everywhere you go.  May you grow in your relationship with God and become strong in your faith, having great endurance and patience.

May you gratefully praise our Father who has saved us and adopted us as his children.  We are his holy people who will live eternally with him in heaven.

Thank you, Abba Father, for rescuing us from darkness by giving us the free gift of salvation through your son, Jesus.

Please bless all of us this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

A Bad Exchange

Taking steps forward – not backward.  Growing in goodness – not growing in selfishness.  Softening my heart – not becoming bitter and cynical.

Change can be good – or bad.  It depends on how and what I’m changing.

I’m reminded of this as I read God’s word to me in Romans when the Gentiles rejected God.  “Their thinking became futile and their hearts were darkened.  They exchanged the truth about God for a lie.”

They changed – in a bad direction.  They became defined by worthless thinking and dark hearts.  They based their lives on lies, turning away from the One True God.  Then they took it a step farther – they encouraged others to do the same thing.

They became filled with envy, murder, strife and deceit.  They became slanderers and gossips, God-haters and boastful.  They had no understanding, no love, no fidelity and no mercy.  And they approved of their way of life.

Just thinking about what their days were like and how it must have felt to live like they were living turns my stomach.  What about you?

They lived worthless lives doing exactly what Satan would like all of us to do.  Satan could ignore them – they were sold out to his lies and they had given in to his schemes.  They were no threat to him.  His work with them was done.

Exchanging the truth for lies is always going to be a bad exchange.  I’m so glad we’re all on this journey towards the truth together so we can keep our compass pointed right at God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

You Are A Letter

You are changed.

I am changed.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, his spirit comes to live inside of us.

He speaks to us.

He loves us.

He redeems us.

He changes us – when we listen and obey.

Paul writes about this transformation in his second letter to the Corinthians.  He calls them “a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God, not on tables of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

You and I are Christ’s letter to our world – not written in ink but communicated by how much we love God and how much we love others.

Faith, Hope and Love…

and the greatest of these is love.

We love you, Abba Father.