Do Not Listen

Do you ever feel surrounded by lies?

Do you automatically question news you read on Facebook or hear on TV?

When you see graphs and numbers and statistics, do you wonder if any of it is accurate?

I do. I question any news I hear – all of it. I don’t believe a lot of things that people tell me. If it’s important, I research it myself looking for corroborating information from several credible sources. I no longer automatically trust leaders – any kind of leader.

Being lied to by people we should be able to trust is not a new thing. God spoke very clearly about some of the liars in Jeremiah’s day. “Do not listen to the prophets who say, ‘Very soon now the articles from the LORD’s house will be brought back from Babylon.’ They are prophesying lies to you. Do not listen. ” Jeremiah 27: 16 – 17. God goes on to say that the articles of the temple would stay in Babylon until he brought them back. Ultimately he was saying that it wasn’t happening until he made it happen and it wasn’t happening now.

I also question things that I hear come out of pastor’s mouths during sermons. I’m in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and, if I don’t remember reading something that is said in a sermon, I go home and research it. Most of the time it’s a phrase or a situation that I’ve never fully understood before and it’s great – I learned something. I’ve had a few times when I didn’t agree with how the pastor used a scripture especially when a single verse is not used in context with the verses around it.

The one source I never question is the Bible. It is the Living Word of God. I question people’s interpretations of scripture but not what God has actually said. God is perfect and he doesn’t make mistakes. The Bible is as relevant today as it was when it was written.

And God is saying, “Do not listen.” There has never been a time in my life where this direction is more important than right now. There has never been a time where asking God to help me discern the truth has been as high of a priority for me.

Because I feel like I’m surrounded by lies. Surrounded by information that is being manipulated by leaders who are putting personal goals of power and wealth ahead of the greater good.

And God is saying, ‘Do not listen.”

Thank you, Abba Father.

Revealer of Mysteries

I don’t understand everything I read in the Bible. I will never understand everything I read in the Bible. It’s very interesting to watch God reveal different truths to me each time I read it. Was that always in there? How did I miss that before? When God does this, I have discovered that he is usually giving me an answer to something I have prayed about.

Daniel called God the Revealer of Mysteries.  As Daniel started to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for him, he said , “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.” Daniel 2:29.

There are many mysteries in our lives that we would like to have answers for, aren’t there?

Why am I here?

Why is this happening?

What am I supposed to do?

Should I go through this door?

I have discovered that God has all the answers to these mysteries. When I trust him, he reveals what I need to know when I need to know it. If I’m feeling like I need an answer right now and I don’t have it, I focus all of my attention on God and he always responds. Often I realize that God was trying to give me direction but it was so different than what I expected that I had overlooked it.

I know I’m moving down the right path when I’m heading towards God.  I’m on the right road when I’m trusting that he will explain what I need to know when I need to know it.

As my trust in God grows, I have found that the number of mysteries in my life shrinks.  He is always speaking to me – loving me, guiding me and pointing out my next step just at the right time – not a day early.

The Revealer of Mysteries proves over and over that he has it all under control.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Exiled

You may 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.” 29:11.

What an awesome promise!  We love to print it on plaques and hang it on our walls.

But did you realize that this promise was originally made to the Israelites who had been exiled by God to Babylon?  God 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. 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 – and many of them would die far from their home in Jerusalem.

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, David Glasser, was killed in the line of duty six years ago.  My world has changed so drastically that sometimes it feels like I am now living in a foreign land.  I’m exiled far from what I thought the rest of my life was going to look like before Davey died.

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 in Jeremiah, God gives us more promises.  He tells us that when we pray, he will listen.  When we diligently look for him, we 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 growing my trust in him gives me the strength and peace I need for each day as I live out the rest of my days…

here in exile.

Hearing the Truth….

And responding to the truth.

Both of these actions are equally important.

I need to know the truth.  And I’m not going to know the truth by listening or reading the national news or reading ‘news’ on line.  The idea of objectively reporting the facts has disappeared – there is always an underlying message that the media is supporting.  They actually leave out facts that don’t support their message.

I can’t believe pictures anymore – faces are changed, locations are changed and they are used out of context.  Again – to support the message.   We’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Now a picture can be worth a thousand lies.

I don’t want to hear and respond to the half-truths and lies of our culture.

So how do I know what is true?

One of the reasons I love reading God’s word is I know its the truth.  As God speaks to me through his word, I know its right and good.

So I can respond.  I can open my heart and let God transform my mind with his truth.

I am encouraged by the story of King Josiah in 2 Kings.  Josiah reigned in the middle of a string of very evil kings.  When he heard the truth, he turned away from the bad example of the other kings and led his people in a huge spiritual revival.  His people got rid of all of their idols and tore down the high places where they worshipped other gods.

A whole nation turned back to God because Josiah heard the truth and responded.

Now it’s our turn to hear the truth and respond.

Thank you for the truth, Abba Father.

Finding the Book

The Book of the Law.

Moses’ book.

God’s words.

God tells us an encouraging story about King Josiah in 2 Chronicles.  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”.(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 recommitting to their relationship 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?  Do we 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 to sources other than God for our guidance and direction?   How often to we check with Google on important things rather than checking with God?

Is our Bible sitting on the shelf more than its been sitting open on our lap?  Are we letting God transform our lives as we soak in his truth, not the lies that swirl around us?

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.

I am in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I continue to experience this renewal and celebration as, each day, I let God’s truth guide me and fill my heart with peace, love and strength.

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.

The Challenge

“You are always on their lips but far from their hearts.” says Jeremiah (12:2) as he talks to God.

He was talking about the people of Judah…..

but is he also describing you and me?

Do you talk about God while keeping your heart safely out of his reach?

Do I read God’s Word without letting his truth soak into my heart and mind so he can change me?

Have you experienced God touching your spirit and renewing your mind recently?  Today?  This week? This month?  This year?

Are you and I stuck on giving God lip service when what he really wants to do is totally transform our lives?

What will it take for us to open up our hearts…

take that next step…

stop just talking about God but sincerely turn over our lives to him,

and then watch him do something amazing with them?

Today is the day, dear Father.

Get Ready!

Be prepared!  Get ready!

Stand up and do what needs to be done!

God gave these directions to Jeremiah thousands of years ago as he began his prophetic ministry.  God also gives these directions to you and me each day as we go about our lives.  Always be prepared to love God and love others.  Be ready to share our experiences with the living God with whoever will listen.  Be ready to speak the truth when we get an opportunity.  Stand up against the lies of our culture.    

God tells us that he will give us strength for the things he asks us to do.

I can’t do it on my own.  You can’t do it on your own.  Do you ever feel powerless?  I know I do.

Then I realize I feel that way because I am forgetting to plug into my power source –  God.  I forget to ask for and receive his help.  No wonder I feel powerless!

I need to remember each day to ask for God’s strength..

for his wisdom….

for his peace.

“For I am with you and will rescue you.” declares my LORD.  Jeremiah 1:19.

Please help me remember to ask, Abba Father.

Great is His Faithfulness

I am not consumed by my sadness.

or my problems..

or the chaos in our world.

Because God is always loving and caring for me..

One of my special joys in reading through the Bible every year is when I read words that were used in the old famous hymns.  I was raised in a musical, conservative Christian home so these hymns bring back a lot of precious memories.

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22 – 23.

As the sun rises each morning, I am reminded of God’s promises.

God’s compassions never fail – I receive more love and grace every morning.

He is never late (even though it can sometimes appear that way to us).

He is never tired.

He is never distracted.

Whenever doubts about God enter my mind, all I have to do is look back. I see God’s faithfulness to me all of my life – day after day, year after year. Even when I wandered, God never left me. He never stopped loving me and caring for me.

Just like he cares for me today.

And I know I can count on him to love me and care for me all of the rest of the days I walk on this earth…and on into heaven.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father!

Under Attack

I feel it. Do you?

I feel that the values Jesus role-modeled for us as believers are under serious attack in our culture. Loving others, forgiving people, and giving other people grace when they aren’t perfect are all getting lost under mountains of political division and widespread judgement of anybody who doesn’t think like we do.

Jeremiah’s prayer to God echoes some of my concerns. He is praying this while he was confined within Jerusalem which was itself being confined by the Babylonians as they began to attack the city. “See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city,” Jeremiah prayed. ” Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it.” Jeremiah 32:24.

I see the siege ramps being built up to take away many of the values that have made our country a great “One Nation Under God’. I see the sword of division, the famine of truth and a plague of fear.

As I pray about this, I hear only one response from God, “I am in control”. God highlights Jeremiah 32:27 for me as I read his Word. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything to hard for me?’

No, Father. Nothing is impossible for you.

Your will be done, Abba Father.

He is Looking for Anyone

Our country is going crazy, right?

It’s frustrating.  It makes us angry,

bitter,

and disillusioned.

So – what am I doing about it?  What are you doing about it?

Are we busy just talking about it and shaking our heads?  Are we spouting off negativity to everyone around us and filling Facebook with our rants?

Or are we doing something positive to help turn the trend one small step at a time?

When Israel was going down the tubes thousands of years ago, God told Ezekiel, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30.

God was looking for someone – anyone – who would build a wall against the injustice that was happening.  A wall that would keep out the lies and violence. God was looking for someone to stand in the gap before him on behalf of the Israelite people.  “But I found no one.”

Is this same thing happening today?  Is it all just talk and emotion?  Or are you and I figuring out how to do our part in standing in the gap for our country before God?

We can stand in the gap by daily praying to God for our country.

We can stand in the gap by putting our feet and hearts into action while working together with God to help turn our country back into the land which was founded with “In God We Trust”. One step at a time. Each of us creating a small ripple that can grow into a wave when we all get involved.

You have found someone who wants to stand in the gap, Abba Father.