The Struggle

“Is not all of human life a struggle?”

Job tells it like it is.  I agree with him – do you?

Looking back, my childhood seems relatively struggle-free but I know that there were things I didn’t like and situations that were hard for me to deal with.

In my memories, it seemed like Jr. High was the worst time for relationship struggles.  Those years were strange and tough.

And then I got a taste of the adult struggles in High School as I started making plans for what my life would look like after graduation.

Life got more and more complicated after that.  Being a wife and a mother of two with a career was the epitome of the struggle.  It was a challenge just to get through each day.  I’m grateful to God for guiding me through that time, straightening out  my priorities and helping me focus on the important things.

Transitioning into the empty nest was a tough struggle for my husband and I.   Every day we missed the fun and craziness of having a house full of active teenagers.  Our priorities had to shift again.  One very positive thing is that we were able to give God more time and space in our lives.

Now that we are retired, the struggle is different but very real.  Priorities shift once again and there are still challenges.  The picture we had for our future exploded when our son was killed.  The hole his death has left in our lives is big and painful.  Rebuilding our plans for a future without him is extremely hard.

Job was right on – this whole life on earth is a struggle.

Thank you, Abba Father, for guiding me through the struggles.

The Accuser

I hear him.

Do you hear him?

The Accuser.  Satan is called the Accuser right in the beginning of the book of Job.  Satan is also called the Father of Lies in the Bible because he is a professional liar.

He whispers lies into my ears, accusing me of bad things I have done.  He accuses me of the wrong and hurtful things I have said.  Yes, I did those things and I said those things.

But  I know – and Satan knows – that all of these bad things I’ve done and said in the past, present and future are forgiven.  I was forgiven for everything when I accepted the free gift of grace offered by God through the death of Jesus on the Cross.  Jesus paid the price.  It’s done.

Why does Satan keep trying to make me forget that?  Why does he continually try to get me to live in guilt instead of the freedom that God gave me because I believe and trust in Jesus?

Why?  Because Satan doesn’t like my freedom in Christ.  He doesn’t like the fact that the Holy Spirit helps me ignore him.

So Satan whispers his lies….

hoping that I will listen and put myself in chains of regret, bitterness, unforgiveness and guilt.  Jesus died to release me from those chains.  That’s the truth.  So I’m not listening to the Accuser.

I am committed to listening to the words of my Father whose voice, when I listen, overpowers the whispers of the evil one.  My Father speaks to me with love…

and patience,

and grace.

I listen to him and I know the truth.  When I know the truth, I can live in the truth.

The Accuser can just go somewhere else with his lies.  No one is listening here.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Guaranteed Success

Always.

Joseph’s story in Genesis is filled with words like, “The Lord was with Joseph so he succeeded in everything he did.”  Everywhere he went, every job he did, Joseph did it well because God was with him.

Having God with him made Joseph special and unusual.  This was thousands of years ago before Jesus came to earth and changed everything.  Now God sends his Spirit to live inside every one who has accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus and has put their trust in him.

God made me special when I accepted salvation and he sent his Spirit to live inside of my soul.  He adopted me and I became the daughter of the King.   As I read the historical account of Joseph, I can tell that Joseph was a good listener and he also knew how to obey.  He heard God’s directions and did them.  This is where his success came from.

When I listen to God and obey,  I also succeed.

The same is true for you.

Let’s not miss it.  Success in God’s eyes often looks different from what we expect success to look like….

but his eyes are the important ones, right?

Please help me listen and obey, Abba Father.

Standing 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 my culture thinks 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 27 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 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 Joseph and return him to his father’.

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.  He had an opportunity to stand up to his brothers and help teach them what is right.  But he didn’t.

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 is right, Abba Father.

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.