Deception

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 a situation look and sound 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 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.  Lies. 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 leave.  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 try to be honest and truthful – even when it’s hard.

What about you?

Please help us avoid dishonesty and deception, Abba Father.

Focused On The Wrong Thing

I’ve had it.  Have you?

Tunnel vision.

I think it happens to all of us at times – especially when our emotions are running high.  When I see only what I want to see.  I notice only what I’m expecting, not what is actually happening.  When my perception clouds the facts, I can go down a path of thinking that is not right, it is not helpful, and it is not true.

If I don’t realize what I’m doing when I’m in a tunnel, I can go to a dangerous place which creates havoc in my life.

So I can relate with Hagar as I read her story in Genesis.  Abraham banished her and their son, Ismael, out into the desert with food and a container of water.  Because she was focused on this one container of water, she felt that all hope was gone when it was empty.

She prepared to die.

She forgot all about reaching out to the Creator of all Things – who created water.  His angel had spoken to her and guided her before but Hagar was in the tunnel – not seeing for any way out except for death.

God heard Ishmael’s cries.  “Then God opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw a well full of water.”  Genesis 21:19.

What?  Was the well there all along and she just wasn’t seeing it?  Was she so lost in despair and discouragement that she didn’t even look around?  Or did God create the well for her?

We don’t know – either way, God provided for her.

And he provides for me constantly.  I need to remember that because, like Hagar, there are situations where I get tunnel vision, especially when emotions are involved.  Especially when something looks big and bad. When I’m lost in my incorrect thinking, I need to remember to reach out to the One who has all the answers.

Please open my eyes, Abba Father.

He Always Keeps His Promises

You and I regularly witness this proof that God is still keeping the promise he made over 4000 years ago.

God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all the living creatures of every kind.  Never again with the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  Genesis 9: 12 – 16.

We love looking up into the sky to see these gorgeous colors. I enjoy seeing all the pictures of rainbows posted on social media. Somebody told me recently they bought their house because, when they have a rainbow, it often ends in their backyard. Their literal pot of gold.

All of this beauty and light and good feelings reminds us of the faithfulness of our Father God. He loves us and he regularly gives us these giant, wonderful reminders so we never forget.

Thank you, Abba Father.

How Do I Know?

It’s hard to make decisions about next steps when I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  There are times when it feels like the unknown is just waiting out there – ready to blow up in my face.

So reading about Abram’s (soon to be Abraham) decision-making in Genesis intrigues me.  First, God tells Abram to leave his homeland to go to “the land I will show you.”

Wow!  Not even a forwarding address on that one!  Just go.  I’ll tell you when to stop.

And the Bible tells us, “So Abram went.”

Abram was role-modeling for me a level of trusting in God that challenges me and make me want to grow my faith.

Then Abram takes a couple of steps back when he deceives the Egyptians by telling them his wife was his sister, creating a significant issue when Pharoah plans to make her his wife.  Abram didn’t trust God to keep him safe in this situation.  The good news is that God intervened and stopped the mess.

Thank you, Father, for stopping some of the messes I was creating before they blew up.

The next time we read about Abram, he is travelling to Canaan with his nephew, Lot.  Their herdsmen are quarreling because together they had too many herds and flocks for the amount of water and food that was available.

They decided to split up and Abram lets Lot pick the best land while he claimed the less fertile hill country.  In this situation, Abram is clearly deciding that his relationship with his nephew was more important than ‘stuff’ like the best piece of land.  Abram knew God well enough to know that God made people a priority over ‘things’ so he knew God would bless his decision.

And God did.

This is such a great lesson for me!  When I don’t know how something is going to work out, I need to use God’s values and follow his heart to determine my next step.  Then I know God will bless my decision.

Please help me love the things that you love, Abba Father.

How Would I Respond?

What would I do if God asked me to build a gigantic boat in my back yard while my neighbors ridiculed me for my foolishness?

Would I willingly bring my entire family onto this boat filled with wild animals and poisonous reptiles?

Would I complain as the rain fell continuously for 40 days with the boat rocking wildly as it was lifted on the water high over the mountains?

How would I feel as the world as I knew it was wiped out below me?  Fearful?  Worried?

It took the waters 150 days to recede.  Five months.  Would I be calm as the boat now rocked down and down and down….to whatever was left below me?  Would I be anxious?  Scared?

After spending over a year on this boat, would I feel ready to face what was coming as the it once again settled on land?  Would I be happy to get off the boat?  Concerned about what I was going to find when the door opened?

I wonder how Noah felt when all of this actually happened to him?

As I read this historical account in chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Genesis in the Bible, all God ultimately tells me is ‘God said, Noah did.’  It’s clear that Noah trusted God through every step of this monumental struggle.   And when he finally got off the boat, the first thing he did was build an altar and make a sacrifice to honor God.

Noah’s faithfulness inspires me.

His perseverance amazes me.

His level of trust in God challenges me.

It’s awesome to know that the God who guided Noah, loved Noah and provided for Noah is the same God who guides me, loves me and provides for me.

God always keeps his promises.

Thank you, Abba Father.

In Control

Do you work really hard to be in control? Be honest with yourself – do you get frustrated or angry when this world throws you a curve ball and things don’t go your way?

This used to describe me. I am a planner and a strategical thinker so my natural tendency is to try to organize the world around me according to my desired outcome.

I wanted control.

I was gradually learning what a waste of time it was to try to control everything around me when I had a defining moment. I learned the hard, painful truth about how much I am NOT in control. My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. Reality slapped me in the face. The only thing I’m in control of is my response to what happens to me.

You might not be ready to hear this, but you are not in control, either.  Trying to control other people or circumstances will use up your time and energy on something that just is not possible. And it won’t work.

Does it surprise you that this issue of wanting to be be in control goes way back to the Garden of Eden?

Satan tempted Eve to eat the apple by saying, “God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.  Genesis 3:5.

She ate it.

Yep, like Eve, we still want to be like God.

Let’s just call it. Sin. We are sinning against God when we try to take away some of the total control He has on our world.

We are not like God. We are not in control. And our lives will be much better, much more peaceful, much less anxious and much less stressful when we admit it and realize our total dependence on God.

It’s hard to do this. I still struggle and I’ve had several huge lessons in this area. Whenever I start to feel anxious, I have to remind myself. I’m not in control – God is.

It’s a good thing He is in control. He is all-powerful. He is always good, always right. And He loves me with a perfect love. He loves you with a perfect love.

It’s a good thing I’m not in control because I am none of those things.

I just need to be reminded sometimes.

In the Beginning

So I begin again.  Genesis 1:1.

This will be my 13th consecutive year of reading through the Bible.  I’m anticipating great mornings of hearing God’s voice as he speaks to me through his Word.

It’s also fun knowing that there is a group of around a dozen of you who are reading the Bible every year with me.  After each of us did it the first year, we realized that we couldn’t imagine not doing it every year.  It’s a spiritual discipline that feeds our souls all year long. If you haven’t read the entire Bible before, this would be a great year to start. I read the Daily Bible arranged chronologically by F LaGard Smith.

One of my favorite things about reading the entire Bible is I get a good understanding of God’s overall message on important topics.  Like God’s love – reading the Old Testament and then the New Testament gives me a knowledge of God’s love that I’m not going to get reading a verse here or a chapter there.

I am also hooked on reading the Chronological Bible for several reasons – here are a few:

  • The Old Testament prophets are placed in the story with the king they talked to and in the correct time in history.
  • One of my favorite reasons – the psalms David wrote are placed in his story when he wrote them.  So I read the psalms David wrote while he was hiding from Saul in the cave when David is actually hiding in the cave.
  • The several different and extremely detailed accounts concerning the tabernacle and the temple are combined into one reading on each.  As a result, what I read makes much more sense to me.   All of the laws are combined into one reading instead of repeated in various places.  I used to skip over all of these sections because they were too repetitive and uninteresting.  Now I actually enjoy reading them because I’m only reading them once.
  • The New Testament gospels are combined so it doesn’t feel like I’m reading the same story 4 times.  It’s interesting to see the differences in perspectives.

The Chronological Bible is not good for in-depth Bible study but it’s great for reading and getting the big picture.

Once again, I start reading this first day of 2023…..

knowing God will open my eyes to more truth this year and he will focus my eyes on truth I already know but need to be reminded of.

In the Beginning.

Being ‘Comfortable’ is Not the Goal

As the final Revelation of God’s Word begins, the Spirit is writing to the 7 churches through John.  The message that reverberates through my mind are his words to the church of Laodicea –

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  Rev. 3: 15 – 16.

The Spirit sounds pretty disgusted with this church.  They were rich and they were acting like they had everything they needed.  But the Spirit calls them pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

And then he offers them the truth – “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”  Rev 3: 19-20.

 The Spirit tells the church of Laodicea to repent and reminds them that Jesus is always ready to forgive them and redeem them.

Lukewarm is not a good place to be.  Jesus came to earth to save us and transform us into beacons of light in a lost and broken world.  ‘Okay’ is not what we are called to be.  ‘Comfortable’ is not our goal. The Holy Spirit wants to set a fire burning within each of us as we seek to know and love our Abba Father.   As our love for God grows, he transforms our hearts so we can truly start to love other people like he does.

There is a fire burning in my heart.  It burns hotter the closer I get to God.  This fire keeps me passionate about following Jesus on this journey towards the truth.

What’s the temperature of your heart for God?  Is there anything or anyone you care about more than God?  Are you lukewarm?  Or sold out?  

Turn up the heat, dear Father!

 

Great Love!

Do you feel it?

I do.

I see it in the gorgeous sunrise as God once again declares his faithfulness to me with the start of a new day.  I feel it in my 2 1/2 year-old grandson’s hug.  I see it in the smiles of my friends.  I feel it in the ‘love you’ from my husband of over 41 years.

It’s the great love God has lavished upon me.

God tells me that I am a precious child and he proves that by showing his love for me in a multitude of ways, every day.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.”  1 John 3:1a

It’s very encouraging to realize that the closer I get to God, the more of his love I feel pouring out over me.  As I’ve been consistently memorizing God’s scripture these last 7 years, I also feel his wisdom pouring out from his Word.  More knowledge.  More understanding.

I am his child!  How much more love and wisdom and knowledge and understanding does he have available for me?

There is no limit!

As 2023 quickly approaches, I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for this next year.  New challenges.  More love.

Thank you, Abba Father.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

It’s an awesome mental picture!

A cloud of witnesses is standing at the gates of heaven cheering us on as we run this race of faith with perseverance here on earth.

My parents are in that cloud and so are my grandparents.  They are there with many more of my family who all lived by faith here on earth, passing their love of God on from generation to generation.

That’s what my cloud looks like!  What a blessing!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12: 1 & 2a.

As I read this passage, I can hear the faint cheers from heaven…

encouraging me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Encouraging me to keep focused on running this marathon of faith well here on earth.

Encouraging me to avoid the sin that so easily entangles.  Entangles is such a great description of what sin does in our lives, isn’t it?

God has marked out a race for each one of us.  One step at a time.  Sometimes its baby steps.  And other times we slow down to a crawl.  But it’s very important to keep moving forward.

To persevere.

To keep our relationship God our first priority and let the Holy Spirit transform us.

Our cloud of witnesses is ready to cheer us on as we take our next steps toward a deeper love relationship with God.

I know one of my next steps in 2023 is to continue to memorize scripture.  I have been extremely blessed by how God has used the scripture etched on my heart and mind to guide me, comfort me and love me.  I will also be blogging through the Chronological Bible again in 2023.  This has become such an important part of my life, I can’t imagine not doing it.

What is your next step?  If you want to hear God more clearly, memorizing scripture is a sure way to do that.  God speaks clearly through his Word, whether it is written on a page or engraved on my heart.  Are you going to read through the Chronological Bible with me in 2023?  I know several of you did this year and, without talking to you,  I know you were blessed.  There is no better way of developing a deeper relationship with God than to read and listen and respond to his Word.

So let’s each make a plan of how we’re going grow closer to God in 2023.  We have a great cloud of witnesses watching.  Do you hear the cheers?

Please help us take our next steps closer to you in 2023, Abba Father.

The top 2 are the Chronological Bible I read every year. They are on sale! Here’s you chance to join me💙💙