Send Someone Else

It’s true.

I’m reading Exodus 4 and Moses – one of the major ancient Patriarchs of Faith – says to God, “Pardon your servant, Lord.  Please send someone else.”  Exodus 4:13.

What?  God had heard the cries of his people and he chose Moses to lead the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and Moses replies, “Send someone else?”  Moses went through the whole burning bush experience and he still says “Send someone else?”

Do I ever do this?

Do you?

I think one of the areas that many of us will ask God “Please send someone else” is when God gives us an opportunity to share our faith and share our story.  “Oh, I’m not sure what to say.”  “We might get into a complicated conversation and I won’t have the answers.”

“There is someone else who would be better at this than me.”

Not true.  No one is better qualified than you to tell your story of how Jesus has saved you. All believers are called to be witnesses of what God has done in their lives.  All of us.  Not just Billy Graham or your pastors.

I love it when people around me start asking spiritual questions because that means God is moving in their lives.  He is opening their eyes and softening their hearts – making them think about him.  Even if the person expresses their searching aggressively like, “How could you possibly believe this stuff?”, God is moving in their brain, stirring things up.

By the way, I have to smile when someone tells me they are not ‘into organized religion’ because then I tell them I’m not, either.  But I’m totally into having a personal relationship with God.  And God is very clear in his Word that part of having a relationship with him is also having relationships with other Christians – a spiritual family.  These spiritual families can meet anywhere – not just in church buildings.  My closest spiritual families through the years have been my Bible study small groups.  I am in one now that meets Monday nights and another that meets Thursday nights.   I am also still a part of one that has been meeting at 6 am on Thursday mornings for over 20 years.  Family.

When people around you or me show any type of interest in God or ask any kind of question, that is God inviting us to show his love to this person, be a witness to what God has done in our life and plant a seed.  We can be authentic when we don’t know all the answers and admit we’re on the journey of faith ourselves – seeking God and growing in our knowledge and love for him.  That’s where faith comes in – believing and trusting even when we don’t understand it all.

So the next time someone around one of us starts talking about ‘spirituality’ or God, let’s share a short, recent story about an experience we have had with God, trusting that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words.  God will be pleased and he will bless our efforts.

Let’s not say, “Please send someone else.”

Please help us be faithful witnesses to your power and grace and love, Abba Father.

What’s in Your Hand?

What do you already have?

Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the right skills or experience or knowledge to do what God is asking me to do.  That’s how Moses felt when God told him to go back to Egypt to free his people from slavery.

“What if they do not believe me or listen to me..?”  Exodus 4:1.   I can hear the worry and concern in Moses’ voice, can’t you?

And then God asked Moses to look at what he already had in his hand and use that to do what God was asking him to do.  Moses was holding his staff in his hand.  As the story of the Exodus unfolds we will read of Moses regularly using his staff in order to do what God is asking him to do.

Applying this to my life, I need to consider what I already have and figure out how to use it to serve God.  What is God asking me to do and what has he already given me in order to accomplish it?  I have a car.  I have a house with chairs.  I have leadership and writing skills.  If I turn off the TV and close down my computer and lay down my phone, I also have time.

When God asked me to start writing this blog, I was already writing a different blog.  So I had everything in my hands to do what he wanted me to do except for time.   I had to take a couple of things out of my already packed schedule to fit the new blog in but God blessed my efforts.  Here I am, 11 years later, still reading through the entire Bible every year and sharing the journey with you in this blog.

I have learned that it’s important to remember when God tells me he wants me to do something that I’m not doing it alone.  God with his supernatural power is working with me – making the impossible possible.  When I focus on what I can do, God takes care of the rest.

The questions God has for you and I today are – what is he asking us to do and what can we use that is already in our hands to do it.

Please open our eyes, Abba Father.

Which Direction?

So many decisions…

sometimes its hard to figure out my next steps.

A lot of options.

burning-bush

Why can’t I get a burning bush like God gave Moses?  It was big.  It was dramatic. There was an angel in the bush.  Moses couldn’t miss it.  If I got one of those, it would be so much easier to listen and follow, right?

In my life, God gives me what I would call burning plants.  They are a lot smaller than a bush and much less impressive but when I’m reading God’s word, praying and listening, God will set fire to the next small plant – lighting the way to my next decision – and then my next.

Here’s how it works – I’m regularly reading God’s word and listening to how he wants me to apply it to my life.  I pray – expecting God to move and answer but keeping my mind open knowing that God can answer in a way that’s much different from how I think he will answer.

I watch.

And he lines up my circumstances, one step at a time.

He will also add confirmations along the way.  Godly people around me will say something that reinforces the direction indicated by a recent burning plant.  And it’s not unusual for my pastor on Sunday to say something that confirms my next decision.

When God knows I am watching and listening, he can work through all of these things to make my next step clear to me.

I have found that I don’t need a big, dramatic burning bush if I’m paying attention.  My small burning plants work just fine.

Thank you for your guidance, Abba Father.

The Pieces……

The pieces are falling into place.

He’s creating one piece, changing the shape of another and he is moving all in the pieces in the direction they need to go.  Gradually – piece by piece – they fit exactly where he planned.

God is the Master Conductor of the Orchestra of Life for those of us who have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ.  God has promised that he is working all things out for the good of those who love him.

His children.

Me.  You.

Piece by piece.

God has been doing this since the beginning of time.  It’s interesting to read how he orchestrates his purpose all through the story of Moses.  When Moses was born, Pharaoh had ordered that all Hebrew baby boys must be killed.  Pharaoh thought there were too many Hebrew men already and was concerned they could rise up and overpower the Egyptians.

Moses’ parents were able to hide their infant son for 3 months.  When his mother could no longer hide him, she made a water-proof basket for him and placed him in the Nile River.

Very soon, Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the Nile and she saw the basket.

Of course, she did.  God made sure of it.

When she opened the basket, she saw the baby and realized he was a Hebrew child who was very hungry.  Moses’ sister had been watching the basket so she walked up to Pharaoh’s daughter.  “Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby?”  Exodus 2:7.   Pharaoh’s daughter agreed and said she would pay the woman who took care of the baby.

Of course, she did.  God had this puzzle all figured out.  Only he could arrange a situation where Moses’ mother could now publicly take care of her son until he was older – and she got paid for it.

This was just the first puzzle piece for Moses.  As we read Exodus, we see God’s hand moving in every step of Moses’ life.

This same God wants to be a part of everything that happens to you, too.

Looking back, I can see God orchestrating my life – moving mountains, parting rivers, putting the pieces of my life together in a unique way which only he can do.

As I start a new year, God has told me some of the things he has planned for me but I’m just going to need to trust him for the rest.  I know he loves me and wants the best for me so I am prepared to watch….

and see the puzzle pieces fall right into place.

Thank you, Abba Father.

When Bad Things Happen….

to good people.

It’s hard to understand.

I sometimes ask ‘why’?  Do you ask ‘why’?

And then I read about Joseph’s trials in Genesis and the answer is pretty clear.  A long list of bad things happened to Joseph and God worked to bring good out of those bad things.  Joseph’s faith and wisdom grew as he trusted God through it all.

I don’t believe that God caused all of these bad things to happen to Joseph.  I don’t believe God causes all the bad things that happen to you and me.  Some of them happen because we live in a world where we all sin, we all make bad choices.  We pay the consequences for our sins as well as other people’s sins.  And Satan is working relentlessly to entice people to sin.  He is creating a lot of our trials.  I don’t understand why some people get mad at God when bad things happen – they should get mad at Satan who is doing the dirty work.

Yes, God is in total control so he could stop the bad things from happening.  But we have free will and sometimes we choose to sin.  Other people choose to sin.  There are consequences for those bad choices. When we, as believers, get to where we’re going (heaven) we will no longer sin and there will be no more negative consequences.

you-intended-to-harm-meHere on earth – where God is with all believers like he was with Joseph – he can use these consequences so that something good comes from them.

This truth makes the account of Joseph’s life very important to me.

His brothers sold him into slavery but – wait.

Then he’s put in charge of the top Egyptian official’s house.

The official’s wife lies to get Joseph in trouble and Joseph is thrown in jail.

But – wait.  God was with him and he was put in charge of the prison.  Joseph helped the Butler and Baker get out of prison – good news for the Butler because he got his old job back, bad news for the Baker who was killed.  The Butler forgot about Joseph for 2 years (2 years!) until Pharaoh had a dream and Joseph was called out of prison to interpret it.  Pharaoh was so impressed that he made Joseph 2d in command, right under himself.

From that position, Joseph was responsible for saving the lives of a whole nation.  A serious famine was coming and God spoke a warning through Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream.

God was with Joseph through all of the bad things that happened to him, making sure that he ended up exactly where he needed to be in order to fulfill his destiny.

Joseph also saved the lives of his brothers who had sold him into slavery.  This indicates the level of maturity and faith Joseph had acquired through his trials.  Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. ” Genesis 50:20.  Joseph could never have predicted the part he was going to play in the huge famine that was coming.  God knew. And he was with Joseph every step of the way.

Joseph’s story encourages me as I watch God bring good out of the tragic death of my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty.  And God has been with me every day as I learn to live with the grief and pain of losing a child.

And he wants to walk through your trials with you, too, – if you will let him.  He wants to bring good out of the bad things that happen to you – if you let him.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Years of My Pilgrimage

I am on a pilgrimage.

A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about themselves or the world.

Are you on a pilgrimage, too? Those of us who have put our faith in Jesus are making our way from our birthplace here on earth to our heavenly home.

In Genesis 47, Jacob (Israel) met Pharaoh and blessed him.  When Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was, Jacob replied, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty.  My years have been few and difficult and they do not equal the pilgrimage of my fathers.”  verse 9.

We think 130 years on earth is a very long time but people lived much longer time at this point in history.

I don’t want to live here 130 years.  There is too much pain and suffering and evil here.  I am on this Journey Towards the Truth until my time on earth is done.  As a Christ-follower, I am called to devote every day of my pilgrimage here on earth to completing my God-given purpose.  I am called to grow deeper each week in my relationship with God.  I am called to let God change me to be more and more like Christ every year.ftdDSC_0527

Almost 8 years ago, I had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Israel.  It was a very different, and yet familiar, place.

I had heard and read so much about what had happened in Jerusalem that I experienced an odd sense of deja vu as we pushed through its crowded streets.

Tears rolled down my face as we made our way down the Via Delarosa – the Way of Suffering – where my Savior dragged his cross that day so long ago.  In my mind, I could hear the shouting and the curses of thousands of years ago bouncing off the stone walls on either side of me.ftdDSC_0523

And, then…..

the overwhelming peace and stillness of the garden.

It was done.

The price was paid.

And Jesus was no longer there.  He had risen, just as he said!

Amen!  Hallelujah!ftdDSC_0564

The years of our pilgrimage here on earth are not easy…..

but we know where this journey ends.

At home.

Full of joy.

Surrounded by peace.

With our Father.

Thank you, Abba.

A Long, Precious Legacy

Since I was born –

from then to now –

God has been my Shepherd.

So Jacob’s words echo through my mind as I read in Genesis 48 how Jacob blesses Joseph and Joseph’s sons before he dies.  ” Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm – may he bless these boys.” verse 15.

Jacob and I share the experience of having a long family legacy of faith.

As Jacob blesses his grandsons, Joseph isn’t happy when Jacob  switches hands and gives the younger son the greater blessing.

But I know that one of the biggest blessings these grandsons and all of Jacob’s grandsons received is the long family history of belief and faith they have been nurtured in since their birth.  It started with their Great, Great Grandfather Abraham and it has been passed down to them.

They have had years and years of role models in their lives of people who followed God and obeyed.  This is a precious blessing that will change their lives forever if they choose to follow in the steps of those who have gone before them.

I have received this blessing as I pursue a life of loving God and being faithful to him….

as my mother and father did….

and my grandmothers and grandfathers…..

and my great grandmothers and great grandfathers – on back through history.

If this isn’t true of your family, you have the awesome opportunity to get it started.

Thank you for giving me the blessing of having a long family history of faith, Abba Father.

He is With Me

He is with me….

all the time….

blessing me….

guiding me….

loving me…

As I read the story of Joseph in Genesis, I notice that one phrase keeps repeating itself – over and over.

“The Lord was with Joseph.”

Joseph lived in Old Testament times so the Holy Spirit had not yet come to live inside of every believer.  God’s relationship with his people in the Old Testament was very different from now because sin was in the way.  It explains why the Old Testament is full of violence, bloody animal sacrifices and killing.  Our Righteous Father had to keep his distance.   Jesus had not yet given up his life on the cross to pay for all of the sins of the world.

Even so, as we read through the Old Testament, God’s Spirit did come to earth at special times to be  ‘with’ chosen people.

Joseph was one of them.  And Joseph prospered even when his circumstances were not good.

I am so thankful to be living on earth after Jesus came because now the Holy Spirit is ‘with’ everyone who has accepted the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus and placed their faith in him.  Everything good on earth comes from God – even when he doesn’t get the credit.

I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is ‘with’ me every day – caring for me, counseling me and walking beside me.

And I prosper despite my circumstances….

because God is good, all the time.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Against the Flow

It’s hard to stand against the pull of popular opinion.  It’s difficult to say ‘no’ when so many people around me are saying ‘yes’.  It’s no fun to stand up for what I know is right when the majority of the people in my world think it’s all ‘ok’.

But there are times and there are situations where I need to stand, even when it’s hard and difficult and definitely no fun.  I need to stand.

You need to stand.

Genesis 37 gives us a good example of what happens when people who want to do the right thing don’t stand up against the crowd.  Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son.  He should have stopped the whole nonsense when his brothers started talking about killing their brother, Joseph.  The discussion was bad enough but then Reuben actually let the rest of his brothers throw Joseph in the cistern, leaving him there to die.  The Bible tells us that Reuben was ‘secretly planning to rescue him (Joseph) and return him to his father’. Genesis 37:22b

Too little, too late, Reuben!

While Reuben was distracted with something else, the rest of his brothers sold Joseph to some slave traders passing by.  When Reuben got back, Joseph was gone.

Should have, could have, would have…..but Reuben didn’t.  He didn’t stop his brothers right at the beginning so he missed his chance to do what was right.  As the oldest, he had an opportunity to stand up to his brothers and help teach them what is right.  But he missed it.

I can miss my chance to do what is right, too, if I follow the crowd when they are going down a crooked path.

Reuben didn’t do or say anything to stop them so he became part of the group that did this despicable thing.  He became part of the problem.

How often to do I miss my chance to stand up for what is right?

How often do you?

Please give us courage to stand up for what you tell us is right, Abba Father.

Branded

Yes, the truth is that Jesus offers you and I the only way to get to Heaven.  But he is standing with his arms wide open to everyone.  His gift of grace is available to all, no exceptions.

The Old Testament is mainly focused on the history of God’s chosen people – the Israelites who became the Jews.  Yet, even in the beginning of the Old Testament, we see evidence of God’s ultimate plan to offer salvation to everyone.  God directs Abraham to circumcise all males in his household, “Whether born in your household or bought with your money (slaves), they must be circumcised.”  Genesis 17:13.  I see this as a kind of ‘branding’ of God’s people.

God’s promise to Abraham was that he would bless him and ‘greatly increase your numbers.’   God promised to make Abraham fruitful.  God promised that he would have a unique relationship with Abraham and with all of Abraham’s descendants for the generations to come.

This circumcision sign was not limited to Abraham’s blood relatives.  I can imagine that Abraham had male slaves of all sizes and shapes and colors and God clearly indicated that they all had a part in his promise.

They didn’t know then but God knew that he was sending his son, Jesus, to save all people who would put their faith in him.  And those people would become Abraham’s children by faith – Children of the Promise.  I’m one of Abraham’s children because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Are you a Child of the Promise?

On a related note – some women get all itchy about ‘men’ being specifically talked to in the Bible.  I’m a female but I’m clear about how God feels about me and I know God is speaking to me through his word, even when the Bible says ‘men’.  It’s also clear in the New Testament how much Jesus respects and appreciates and loves the women in his life.  There’s nothing to get itchy about.

On the subject of circumcision which seems like a totally male thing, God expands our thinking when Paul teaches us in Romans in the New Testament that God is looking for is an internal circumcision of the spiritual heart of everyone who puts their faith in Jesus.  The circumcision of the heart means our hearts are wide open to God as we love him with all of our hearts, minds and souls.

This circumcision is for all believers – male and female.

I am on a Journey Towards the Truth, reading God’s word every year as my faith in God and trust in him grows.  I am branded by a heart sold out to God.  My love for God affects everything that happens in my life.

What’s the condition of your heart?  Is it wide open to God?

Thank you for your gift of grace which is offered to everyone, Abba Father.