A Bad Idea

We all have probably done it.  And most of us have done it more than once.

I know for a fact that I have.

I have found myself in a difficult situation making a deal with God.  “If you take care of this, I will ________ (fill in the blank).

Too often, God takes care of his side of the bargain and I forget all about my promise.

Yes, my promise.  That’s how God looks at it.

When I don’t do what I told him I would do, I am breaking my promise to  God.

Bad idea.

The Israelites often had this very bad idea.  Jeremiah tells us that God worked through King Hezekiah who decreed that the Israelites were supposed to free all of the Hebrew slaves.  God had already commanded that the Hebrew slaves be freed after serving 6 years but the people had been ignoring this for a long time.

We are told that the people initially obeyed God’s command but then later “they changed their minds”.  They took all the slaves back.  I get it – going back to doing all the work themselves was not fun but breaking your promise to God is going to be a whole lot less fun.  Trust me.

Since the Israelites had “shrugged off” their oath and did not free the slaves, God told them he was going to set them ‘free’ from his protection.  They were now ‘free’ to be destroyed by war, disease and famine.

Wow!  That’s not the freedom I want.

There are consequences when we ‘shrug off’ our promises to God.  Our lack of obedience does not go unnoticed.  Those of us who have put our faith in Jesus are under God’s new covenant of grace so he will not set us free from his love and care.  But, as a Good Father, he lets us pay the consequences for our bad decisions.  He walks beside us – guiding and encouraging us.  But we pay – because then we learn….

eventually….

Some of us are slower learners than others.

One of the many things I have learned is to take my promises to God extremely seriously.  I don’t make them unless I totally plan on keeping them.  I’m going to avoid “changing my mind” and “shrugging it off” when it gets too difficult.  That way I can also avoid the negative consequences that can happen.

It’s a very good idea.

Please help me keep my promises, Abba Father.

Branded by the Truth

It’s very different.

We are the created ones.  And God’s old relationship with us was broken by our rebellion and sin.  That’s one of the reasons why the Old Testament is filled with violence and gore.  That’s why there was continual conflict and strife between God and humans in the Old Testament.

Sin was in the middle of everything – messing it up.

But God already had a plan to fix this.  He was sending Jesus, his Son, to pay the price of all our sins for all time.  Because of what Jesus did through his death and resurrection, those of us who accept salvation through him can have a personal relationship with God which begins here on earth and extends into eternity.

In Jeremiah, God describes the New Testament relationship that is coming,  ” I will put my instructions deep within them and I will write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.”

Thank you, Father God, for sending your Son, Jesus, who offers salvation and freedom to everyone.  Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit deep within my soul when I put my faith in Jesus.  I hear the instructions of your Spirit and I love your Word which is written on my heart.  I never really knew what it meant to have your Word etched into my heart until you challenged me to get serious about memorizing it.  I am now branded by your Truth – thank you for making that happen.  You get the credit since I still can’t remember any trivia and I forget my address and telephone number sometimes but I can recite chapters of scripture. 

I am so very grateful that you are my God and I am your daughter – forever.  In the redeeming name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

You’ve Heard It

I’m sure you’ve heard this famous verse from Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

What an awesome promise!  We love to hang onto this one and quote it often.

But did you realize that this promise was originally made to the Israelites who had been exiled by God to Babylon?  God had let the King of Babylon capture Jerusalem and take the Israelites away from their homes.  Right before his promise concerning his good plans for them, God told Israel through Jeremiah that they would be in exile for 70 years.

70 years.

This meant that many of them would die in Babylon – never going back to Jerusalem.

God said he would come and bring them home after these 70 years and then he goes on with this famous verse, “For I know the plans I have for you……”

The Israelites had been ripped away from the homes they had expected to live in for the rest of their lives.  They were now living in a foreign land – exiled.

Do you ever feel like you have been exiled?

I have.

I do.

The life I expected to live was suddenly snatched away from me when my son was killed in the line of duty three years ago.  My world has changed so drastically that sometimes it feels like I am now living in a foreign land.  I’m exiled from the life I expected to live.

And today, God is saying to me – and maybe to you – that I will continue to live in this foreign place until he comes to take me home.  While I’m here, he has plans for me.  He is giving me hope and a purpose.

After his initial, famous promise, God gives me more promises.  He tells me that when I pray, he will listen.  When I diligently look for him, I will find him.

I know God always keeps his promises – that’s a fact.  I have discovered that reading his Word, absorbing what he is saying to me and trusting him gives me the strength and hope I need for each day as I live out the rest of my days here in exile.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Slippery Paths

Have you been there?  I have –

I’ve found myself on a slippery path before.

A decision was made without a lot of thinking and – boom – I’m slipping down a slope – going somewhere I never wanted to go.  Or the wrong thing just slips out of my mouth to the wrong people at the wrong time and now I’m stuck in a place where it’s said, it’s done.

How did I get here?

Jeremiah tells us about how slippery our paths can become when we wander away from God.  He says we can feel like we are being chased through the dark – how did he know about our middle of the night fears and anxiety?

I know there is only one thing to do when I find myself going down a slippery path or find my anxious thoughts chasing sleep away in the middle of the night. 

I need to turn to God.  He will lead me back to solid ground.  He will guide my thoughts with his truth and his love.

There are no slippery paths with God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

It’s Coming

Am I ready?

The Old Testament is full of struggles and conflict – much like the world you and I live in today.  We fight different types of battles – our’s are against things like addiction and debt and hopelessness.  But our struggles are as real as the ones we read about in the Old Testament.

So many of the directions God gave Jeremiah to tell Judah apply to me and to you today –

“Prepare your shields”.  Paul tells us in Ephesians that our Armor of God includes the Shield of Faith.  I prepare my Shield of Faith for battle by diligently studying and memorizing God’s Word.  I know God through his revelation to me.  I hear his voice because I recognize his words.  I see God moving in my life because I spend significant time with him.  My trust grows as I experience his faithfulness year after year after year in my life.  I am preparing my Shield of Faith for the next battle that comes my way – because it’s coming.

Jeremiah tells me to put on my helmet – Paul calls it a Helmet of Salvation.  Salvation is not something that happens and then I go on with my life.  Salvation should turn my life upside down – changing my priorities, changing my perspective, changing who I am from the inside out.  When Jesus became my Savior, I became a child of God.  I am loved by my Father – not because of what I do, in spite of what of I do.  The moment I put my faith in Christ, I became a forever forgiven princess of a King who has his armies fighting my battles with me and for me.

When I fully put on the Helmet of Salvation, I live in God’s love, I breath God’s grace into my lungs and my life becomes filled with gratitude to my Father God for what he has already done for me.  Anything good I do on this planet is done in gratitude to God.  I know who I am in Christ and my helmet is ready for the next struggle that comes my way – because it’s coming.

Jeremiah tells me to sharpen my spear.  By the time Paul was writing, spears had evolved into swords and our’s is the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.  God’s Word not only grows and strengthens my Shield of Faith which protects my heart, it is also my only offensive weapon against the Evil in this world.  Through God’s Word, I know the Truth so the lies of this world don’t confuse me or distract me from the purpose and plans God has for me here.

I know God is right beside me and he has already claimed victory in the war against Evil.  With him by my side, I just need to persevere through the battle in front of me.  My Sword helps me cut through the crud of our culture so I can stay focused on my compass – God.

With my Sword of the Spirit ready, I can face the next conflict that comes my way – because it’s coming.

Jeremiah is telling me – and you – to “Prepare your armor”

How prepared are you?

Please help us prepare for the battles ahead, Abba Father.

 

Far Beyond

Higher than my ways.

Higher than my thoughts.

God tells us in Isaiah 55 that his thoughts are nothing like our thoughts.  This has been an extremely important concept for me to grab ahold of and wrestle with in my Journey towards the Truth.

I cannot use my perspective to grow my understanding of God.  I have had to realize that how God thinks and feels and processes is ‘far beyond anything’ I can imagine.

Yes, I am made in God’s image.  You are also made in his image.  So I see aspects of God when I look at myself and I see different aspects of God when I look at you.

But you and I have a 3 1/2 pound brain – and most of that we don’t use.

God has infinite wisdom.

God is perfect.

God knows everything.

He has the power to do anything.

He created everything – from nothing.

Just looking up into the sky gives me a better idea of how huge and endless God is.  So it makes a ton of sense to me that his thoughts and his ways are beyond anything my brain can dream up.

The miracle is that this doesn’t mean I can’t know God.  God reveals himself to me daily in his Word and in his movement here on earth.  His Spirit lives within me and draws my attention to what God is doing and what he is saying to me.  God’s Spirit shines his light on the path God has prepared for me.

God wants me to know him.  He wants me to have a personal relationship with him.

I have been wonderfully and lovingly created by God in his image –

I am like him,

but He is not like me.

Thank you for being beyond anything I can imagine, Abba Father.

1,000

I am celebrating today!  Please join me!

My last post was my 1,000th post in Journey Towards the Truth!

Unbelievable!  Thanks so much to many of you who have been on this journey with me for several years.  I appreciate your ‘likes’ and I appreciate your encouraging comments.

This is my 8th straight year of reading through the entire Bible.  I started blogging about it the 2d year and haven’t stopped.

So your obvious question for me is – ‘Are you closer to the truth since you’ve been on this journey for 8 years?

I cannot describe how much closer to the Truth I am.  The Truth is God and this journey has cemented his words in my mind and on my heart.  During these last several years I have also memorized the entire chapters of James 1 and 2 – making it so much easier to hear God as he speaks his words into my mind to comfort me, guide me, and challenge me.

I am infinitely grateful that I obeyed when God asked me to start this blog.  Looking back, God wanted to bless me and he wanted to prepare me to weather the most painful tragedy of my life – when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  God knew I would need a close relationship with him when my life blew up.  He knew I would need his Word carved deep into my soul so I wouldn’t get lost in bitterness and hopelessness.

God has been my anchor through this worst storm of my life which continues to rock my world with waves of emotion and loss.   God is my safe haven and I’m confident that he will continue to hold me close all the way to the day he brings me home.

He is my good Father who loves me and wants the best for me.  My earthly circumstances do not change these facts.

Thank you for inviting me on this journey with you, Abba Father.

You Are Mine

This is what I hear God saying to me as I read Isaiah 43 and my response –

“But now, Judy, listen to me, I am LORD who created you.

I am the One who molded you in your mother’s womb and I am saying to you,

Do not be afraid, for I have paid the price for you.  I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.”

I know you will be with me, Father.  You have gone through some very deep waters with me, never leaving my side.

“When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.

 You are always faithful, Father.  You have never let me drown no matter how high and strong the waves of difficulty have been as they have crashed over my life.

“When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up: the flames will not consume you.”

 I have walked through the enormous oppression of the fires of grief and pain these last 3 years, Father, and it’s only by your grace that I did not burn up.  Your love kept the fires from consuming me.

 You are the LORD, my God, my Savior.

  You guard my life because I am precious to you.

 I am honored, Abba Father, to be your daughter.

 

 

 

Accountable

I hear them.

I read them.

I study them.

I even memorize them.

God speaks into my heart and mind as I do all of these things with his Word to me.  I know his truth and I am accountable for it.

God expects me to respond.  Obey.  Let him change my thinking and change my actions.

God tells us this as he speaks to Ezekiel, “My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice.

God expects me to put his word into practice.

God expects that his words to you will be evident in your life.

We are accountable because we have read and we have heard.

Dear Father, Thank you for your Word to us.  Thank you for revealing your truth to us.  Please help us put your Word into practice in our lives.  Mold us and renew us, Father.  Convict us, Holy Spirit, when we fall short.  Open our eyes.  Open our hearts.  In the awesome name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Troubled Times

So many problems.

Surrounded on all sides by pieces of our broken hearts.

Bent under a burden of grief.

Confused and disillusioned.

Our dark days on this earth are many.  The writer of Lamentations joins us in making a long list of the trials and issues around him.  Then – right in the middle of the mess – he writes some of the most well-known words in the Bible.  Here is a 2018 version:

Because of the LORD’s great love for us, our pain and problems do not consume us.

God’s compassion for us is renewed every morning.

Great is your faithfulness, Father.

My faith, my hope and my joy is found in my Father God.  He is always beside me.  I trust him to provide the strength and wisdom I need each day.

He is a good, good father to all of us who seek him.  Those who walk closely with him will find peace and grace.

Great is your faithfulness,  Abba Father.

.