If…

you will call on me and come and pray to me, I will listen, ” God tells  us in Jeremiah 29. “When you seek me with all of your heart, you will find me.”

The big IF.  The big WHEN.  This is the part where you and I have to commit.   This is our part of the deal.  God guarantees that he will listen.  God promises that we will find him.  IF I call on him. IF you call on him.  WHEN we seek him.

The verse right before this is very well-known.  It is a promise of God that we desperately hold on to when our lives are crumbling around us.  We often recite it in our prayers for our children and families.

God tells us that his plans for us are to prosper us, to give us a hope and a future.

Amen!  Bring it on, God!

But we miss it if we don’t read on to the next verses.  This is where he tells us HOW he is going to do this.  He promises to respond and prosper us  IF we call on him.  WHEN we seek him, he will be found and he will be able to do what he has promised.  He wants to give us a hope.  He has a beautiful future planned for us.

IF.  WHEN.

Am I calling on him?  Am I seeking him?  What about you?  I can’t claim this promise unless I’m doing these things.

I am calling and seeking right now, Abba Father.

 

Finding the Book

The Book of the Law.

Moses’ book.

God’s words.

God tells us an encouraging story about King Josiah.  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.( 2 Chronicles 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 renewing their covenant 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?  Is it true that some of us 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 at sources other than God for our guidance and direction?   How often to we check with Google on important things rather than checking with God?   These other sources are our mediums and spiritists.

Is our Bible sitting on the shelf more than its been sitting open on our lap?  We need to read it.

And let God transform our lives through it.

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.

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.

I am Becoming

I am ‘becoming’ something.

We are all on the path to ‘somewhere’.

I know I decide what I am becoming and where I’m going by my choices each day.

I know 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.

God tells me through Isaiah that I can decide to be clay in my Potter’s hands. Potter-at-Work1

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

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

I have seen his work in my life – gradually changing my thinking and perspective so it more closely lines up with his.  Reading the entire Bible for the ninth time this year, I continue to reap the rewards of committing this time and effort to my relationship with him.  The better I know his Word, the easier it is for my Potter to 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.

Our lives – created by God.

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

Our choice.

I choose you, Abba Father.

Don’t Want to Be…..

Stiff-necked.

God describes the Israelites as “stiff-necked” people in Jeremiah 17.  He adds –

  • they do not listen.
  • they do not pay attention.
  • they don’t respond to discipline.

God is obviously not happy with them

I know God is saying that the Israelites are stubborn when he says “stiff-necked”.

As I’m reading this, I started to think about my own neck.  I have compressed disks in my neck so it’s always a little painful and will quickly become very painful and stiff if I do something to aggravate it.

When my neck is stiff, I find that I don’t turn my head very far to the left or right.  My sight becomes limited to what’s right in front of me.  I don’t see a lot of things around me and have a very small view of the world.  As a result, I probably don’t make as good of choices as I would if I was looking around, taking in more information and seeing a more complete picture.

When my neck is stiff, I am also in pain so my patience is short and I’m on edge.  It’s hard to focus and my frustration can quickly show.

All of these are negative things.  So I think God is not just calling the Israelites stubborn, he is also including all of these other issues that are part of having a ‘stiff-neck’.

No wonder God isn’t happy with them!

Please help me avoid all of the bad behaviors of having a ‘stiff neck’, Abba Father.

 

He is Not Like Me

I am created in the image of God,  I am like him.

But he is not like me.

I have found this to be a crucial truth to get straight in my brain so that I have the correct expectations of God.

God tells me through Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”

God is perfectly holy, perfectly just, perfectly loving and always right.

I am farrrrrrrr from perfect.  I cannot judge God’s actions – whether they are right or wrong – based on what I think.  My thinking is very flawed.  It is self-centered, self-seeking and severely limited.  I don’t think like God.  I will never think like God.

So I submit to his will.

I am totally confident in God’s goodness and his perfect love for me.  I know to the depths of my spirit that God wants the best for me.  Even though I will never understand how he thinks and why he has permitted a painful tragedy to happen in my life when my son was killed, I will trust God.  His ways are not my ways – his ways are perfect.

In response to this truth, I have decided that my way is to walk in faithfulness and trust the rest of my days on this planet.  I have decided to live in gratitude for God’s free gift of redemption through Jesus.  I don’t question what God does or doesn’t do.  I don’t try to judge if he is right or wrong – I know he is right.  I know he is always walking beside me, loving me and caring for me, even when he is not doing what I think is best.  He knows better.

I trust you, 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.

A couple of days ago I read that the state of California was letting thousands of criminals out of the prisons onto their streets early, not caring about the innocents who live on those streets.

This is not my home.

I could go on 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.”

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.

Passing Through, Isaiah 43

When I am passing through the waters of grief…

*of disappointment…

*of disillusionment…

*of pain….

God is with me.

When I am passing through a river of tears…

*pierced by the shattered pieces of my broken heart.

*trying to figure out how to live with a huge hole in my life…

the tears do not sweep over me.  God is with me.

When I am walking through the fire of anger…

* filled with ‘whys’…..

* trying to understand….

I am not burned.  God is with me.

I am passing through.  I’m not getting stuck in these places.  Everything that happens in my life has first gone through the hands of my Father God.  He has a purpose.

So I will trust him as I pass through the water, the river and the fire.

Thank you for walking closely beside me, Abba Father.

 

When It’s Big

And bad.

There have been times in my life when huge dark clouds have rolled in and  completely filled the sky over my head….actually, they have been in my head.  And they don’t move.  They don’t let any light shine through.

What do I want to do when this happens?  I want to worry, get anxious, and try to figure out how to fix it myself at 3 am in the morning.

What should I do?

When King Hezekiah received a letter from of the King of Assyria telling him that he was going to destroy Hezekiah, Hezekiah went to the temple and spread the letter out before the LORD.

God heard Hezekiah’s prayers and send an angel to kill a hundred and eighty thousand Assyrian soldiers.  When the King of Assyria saw this, he ‘withdrew to his own land in disgrace.”  God won – of course.

Hezekiah knew it would be impossible for him to win the battle before him on his own.  So he laid it down before God.

How many of us have an impossible battle before us right now?  It’s too big.  It’s too hard.  I’m not strong enough.  I can’t do this on my own.

I’m there.  When my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty 4 years ago,  I entered a battle with grief and loss that I’m going to be fighting the rest of my life and I cannot possibly be successful if I try to do it by myself.  I need to take Hezekiah’s lead and lay it down before my God who is all-powerful.

Lay it down before my God who wants the best for me.

Lay it down before my God who is in control and can bring good out of every dark cloud.

As I’ve grown in my relationship with God on this journey, I’ve gotten pretty good at laying it down.  But, if I’m not careful, I’m also good at picking it back up.  Are you with me on that?

I need to lay it down….

and leave it at the feet of my Father God who fights my battles for me and who has already won the war.

Here it is, Abba Father.

 

Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t be discouraged.

“There is a greater power with us than with him.”

King Hezekiah said these words to his army thousands of years ago and today God is saying them again to you and to me through his Word.

Do you need to hear this?  With all the crud swirling around in our culture, I know I need to be reminded.

You and I are being threatened in all areas of our lives – health, finances, spiritually, relationships.  God is telling us today to ‘be strong and courageous’  because he is the greater power.

I have put my faith in Jesus so I know that God is with me.

He is for me.

He is fighting my battles.

He is working all things out for my good.  He has a purpose for everything.

He has greater power,

greater love,

and greater forgiveness

than I can ever understand.

There is no reason to be afraid or discouraged.

Wow!  Thank you, Abba Father.  I needed to hear this again today.

No More

Have you ever wandered away from God?

It’s easy to do – there are so many distractions.  It’s difficult to keep God at the top of our priorities when long lists of other things clamor for our attention.

So we wander.

I used to wander away from God pretty regularly.  I wouldn’t even it realize it until something bad happened so I would look to God – surprised at how far I had drifted away from him.

I stopped wandering when my spiritual habits became the foundation of my life.  Reading and studying God’s word daily has moved from a ‘if I have time’ thing to something that is not optional.  Talking with God and listening to him as he helps stay in line with him is not optional in my life.  Worshipping and serving God with my spiritual family is also not optional.  Tithing my time and treasures is not optional.   Others things have to be taken out of my schedule if my time with God is not happening.

When my life became grounded on my spiritual habits, the wandering stopped.  I am experiencing the blessings Isaiah told the people of Judah they would receive when they turned back to God –

God is gracious to me and always answers my call.  He has walked closely beside me in all of the tough times he has permitted to happen in my life.  He blesses me during these times – guiding me and teaching me.  Whatever is happening, I hear his voice in my head saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

I have given God first priority in my life and he provides everything I need each day.  I am confident that he will take care of me until the end of my days here on earth.

Thank you, Abba Father.