Tunnel Vision

I’ve had it.  Have you?

I think it happens to all of us at times – especially when our emotions are running high.  Then 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, 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 looking 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.”

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.  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 to your plans and provision, Abba Father.

My Ticket to Ride

How close can I get to God?

That’s a great goal, isn’t it?

I’d like to get as close as Enoch.  Enoch was Adam’s great, great, great, great grandson and we read in Genesis that he walked in close fellowship with God.  “Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”

Enoch never died.  God just took him home.  I don’t have any control over it, but that’s the way I’d really like to go.

Elijah was the only other person that we know of who God took up to heaven before he died.

How many bonus points does it take to get a chariot ride up the heaven?

God has a huge sense of humor so he knows I’m just kidding.  I was once told that it’s ok to joke around with God and that makes sense to me.  He is always watching us so we might as well make him laugh.

I wonder how many more people have ‘disappeared’ or gotten a chariot ride up to heaven?  It’s a safe bet that we don’t know about them all.  I prefer the chariot ride because I wouldn’t want the people I love who are left behind to have any questions about what happened.

It is obvious that both Enoch and Elijah had a very close relationship with God.  That must be the ticket.  So I’m going to work on my relationship with God knowing he has already determined my last day and what my trip into heaven is going to look like.

But it never hurts to ask, right?

Please put me on the chariot list, Father.

 

Secure in 2019

I am anchored in the love and truth of my Father.  Held secure in his arms, I can let the winds of the world swirl around me without getting lost in it.

Today starts a new year.  2019.  I’m excited to see what God has planned for the next 365 days.  He has shown me enough so I know he is in the middle of orchestrating something – he is on the move.  I’m just not sure what he is doing – yet.

So I begin this year watching for the pieces of God’s plan for 2019 to start falling into place and asking him to reveal to me my part.

I have no fears for 2019.  I have learned a very big lesson about the uselessness of being afraid.  God is in control of my wisp of time here on earth and, when its done, he will take me home.

There is nothing to fear.

I am anchored.

Today I start again ‘In the beginning’ of God’s revelation to us – for the 8th straight year.  I am glad you are on this journey towards the truth with me.  My prayer for you, my fellow traveller, is that you are also anchored deep within the love of our Heavenly Father.

He is faithful.

Please bless all of us as we grow stronger in our faith in 2019, Abba Father.

What If?

What if something bad happens?

What if this doesn’t go down like I planned?

What if I’m not making the right decision?

Our ‘what if’s’ stop us.  They confuse us.

I have learned to look at the facts, not my fears.  In my decision-making, the facts weigh in at 100% and my fears at 0%.  Because my fears are just emotions.  And emotions are circumstantial.  They feel real but they are often very fleeting and not supported by reality.

Moses let his emotions take over as he was standing out in the desert by the burning bush which didn’t burn up.  Here he was, speaking to the Creator of the Universe.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was revealing his plan for Moses and Moses replied with ‘what if’s.’

His fears got in the way of seeing what was actually happening. The Great I Am had heard the cries of his people and he was responding by asking Moses to lead his people out of slavery.  It makes me smile as God outlines his plan in Exodus 3 because that’s just how it all happened.  I really love the very last part where the Egyptians gave their silver and gold to the Israelites to encourage them to leave.  How awesome!  Only God could have made that happen.

But Moses didn’t get it.  His fears made it hard for him to listen.  God told him to assemble the elders of Israel and tell them the plan.  “The elders of Israel will listen to you.”  How does Moses respond?  “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?’

You aren’t listening, Moses.  Those are your fears talking.  The fact is that the One True God just said they would listen.  It’s done.  Don’t waste time and effort on your fears, Moses.

That’s much easier to say than to do, right?

I know I waste time and energy on my fears – my ‘what if’s’.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer and he was killed in the line of duty in 2016.  My fears and ‘what if’s’ are a lot bigger and darker since then.  The worst can happen – it does happen.

Some of the worst times are in the middle of the night when it’s dark and thoughts swirl through my brain.  On those nights, I watch the window closely and I’m always glad to see the sun start to bring light back into my world.  Because in the light, my ‘what if’s’ lose power and the facts once again come into focus.  My fears are literally over-shadowed by God’s love and his mercy and his faithfulness.

Moses needed to trust God.

I need to trust God.

What about you?

Please help us trust you, Abba Father.

I Want a Limp

Why is life so hard?

Why do bad things happen to me?

Why am I being bombarded by tough stuff?

We wrestle with God in our minds when we don’t understand.  We have questions.  We have frustrations.  We have fears.

In Genesis 32, we read about Jacob’s wrestling match with God.  They physically wrestled – all night.

Have you ever wrestled with God in your mind all night?  I have.  Thoughts swirling.  Stuck in frustration.  Questions flying around.  Emotions rolling.

When the sun rose for Jacob in the morning, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel ‘because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome..”

Then God blessed Israel.  God also wrenched Israel (Jacob’s) hip out of its socket while they were wrestling and Israel limped the rest of his life – evidence of his successful wrestling with God.

Like Israel,  I want to have evidence in my life that I have successfully wrestled with God.  I want to overcome my misunderstandings and frustrations and fears.  I want to be blessed.  I want a ‘limp’.

So I need to follow Israel’s example of not giving up,

not giving in,

not wandering away,

using all my strength to stay in the game,

keeping my heart and soul focused on God – not matter the cost.

That’s my plan.

What’s your’s?

Please give us a ‘limp’, Abba Father.

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.