Words that Changed My Life

They challenged me.

They held me accountable for what I had been saying my entire life.

These are the words Jesus said in John 14:

“If you love me, keep my commands”.

I had been saying I loved Jesus since I was old enough to talk.  I was brought up in a Christian family who lived out their faith in a small Christian town.  For much of my childhood, I thought everyone was a Christian because everyone in my life went to church.

I remember seriously being in love with Jesus when I was younger.  I read my Bible and talked to him all of the time.  Somewhere along the way, I slipped into being more of a ‘cultural Christian’ than actually having a relationship with God.  I went to church, I served at church, I gave money to the church, I participated in small group Bible studies and I talked about loving Jesus but God really didn’t have a big place in my daily life.   My Bible was gathering dust, but I still said I loved Jesus.

Then the Holy Spirit convicted me with these words, “If you love me, keep my commands.”  He made it clear to me that he wasn’t talking about the 10 commandments in the Old Testament.  Jesus had fulfilled all of the old law and given me two new commandments.  Only two.

The first – I need to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind and all my soul.

The second – love others as myself.

These are it.  Everything else falls under these two commandments.

The Holy Spirit told me, if I really loved Jesus, I would strive to keep these two commandments.  If I didn’t start sincerely trying to obey these two, I needed to stop saying I loved Jesus.

I was blown away!  I had never taken the commandment to love God first seriously.  I was a wife and a working mother of two small kids at the time.  I had so many responsibilities and things to do I just couldn’t imagine adding all the stuff it would take to love God first!

But there was no way I was going to stop saying I loved Jesus.  No way.   I knew it was a part of who I was at the center of my soul.  So I was going to have to go for it and figure it out as I went.

It didn’t take me long to realize, when I put God first, he helped me with everything else.  He grew me into a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter and sister, a better employee, a better boss, a better friend – he made my entire life better.  Putting him first in my life made my existence so much more meaningful and ‘worth it’.  He filled the empty spots in my heart and made me whole.

When I put God first in my life, he taught me how to love others.  As my life filled with his love, it overflowed to those around me.  I didn’t have to try to obey the second command – it naturally happened as the love of my Father transformed me from the inside out.

One verse piercing my soul through the Holy Spirit changed the tragectory of my entire life.  It put me on the path on I am on today – my Journey towards the Truth.

Thank you for joining me on this journey

Thank you for loving me first, Abba Father.

What’s the Answer?

How can I help make this world a better place?  Wow!  That’s a big question.

How can I hep those who are hurting and feeling all alone?

How can I, just one person, really make a difference in my neighborhood, in my circle of friends and in my family?

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  He left behind a legacy of love by reminding us how important it is to tell each other ‘love you’ and to show it.

And I have discovered that love is the answer.

Love is a gift given to all of us directly from our Father God.  Jesus spoke very clearly about love in John 13, “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Before he was killed, Davey made sure he said ‘love you’ to everyone when he said good-bye to them.  As a police officer, he also persuaded his squad to say ‘love you’ to each other before going out on their calls.  Now we all understand what a blessing it is that these were his last two words he ever said to each of us.

Davey knew how important love was and he was great at saying it.  Even more important, he was great at showing people – all kinds of people – that he loved them.  This was his legacy of love.  And honoring his legacy has helped all of us through the many dark and painful days that have followed his death.

There is a supernatural magic in love that I had never experienced before these last 2 1/2 years.  Jesus knew this thousands of years ago when he told us –

‘Love one another’.

Thank you for giving us such a clear answer, Jesus.

Worried

Anxious.

Not sleeping.

Grumpy.

On edge – ready to snap at the next person who looks at us wrong.

Does this describe you at times?  I know I can go here if I’m not aware of where my mind and attitude are wandering..

Do you remember the biblical account of the disciples in their boat in the middle of a huge storm on the lake?  I visualize all of  them trying to row against the giant waves that were breaking over their boat.  The waves were filling the boat with water and almost capsizing it.

That’s you and me.  Worrying.  Anxious.  Fighting the waves all on our own…….and losing.

While Jesus sleeps in the corner.

Jesus never sleeps now but he does wait sometimes to get involved in a situation until we ask.   Throughout his ministry, he constantly told listeners to see and to knock and to ask.

But do I always remember that?  I wish my answer was yes because I know Jesus is always there to help me solve my problems.  He wants me to recognize my need for him at the beginning of the trial and ask for his intervention.

Before their boat totally sunk, the disciples finally got it and woke up Jesus.  That’s all they needed to do – he took it from there by supernaturally calming the storm.

Why don’t I always remember this when waves start rocking my world?

Why don’t you always remember this when the night is dark and long with worries and anxiety?  Are there waves breaking over the edges of your boat right now trying to swamp you?

Have you ‘woken up’ Jesus?

Thank you for your faithfulness, Lord.

Let Me Hear

There are times I hear the truth but don’t want to believe it.  If I don’t open my mind and own it I don’t have to do anything about it, right?  I can just go on my way without having to change a thing.

Does this describe you?

Jesus talks about us in his parable of the sower.

The farmer scattered the seed, some fell on the path and the birds ate it up.  That’s you and me when our hearts are closed and we ignore the truth.

Some of the farmer’s seed fell on rocky soil where it sprang up but was quickly scorched and withered by the sun.

That can be you and me, too.  On those Sundays when the sermon we hear is right on target and hits home – do we let the truth change us?  When we watch a video broadcast and we get excited about what the Pastor is sharing with us – how much of that truth do we remember 1 hour later?  Do we remember anything about it beyond the next click on our phone?

Other seed fell among the thorns so they grew but were choked by the weeds.

Oh, yes.  That’s us.  God reveals truth to you and me and we think we get it and we make some temporary adjustments to our priorities and behavior.  But they become very temporary because other priorities squeeze to the top of our list and the changes don’t stick.  Our Bibles gather dust.  Lack of forgiveness and grace creep back in making us bitter instead of better.   Our lack of love sometimes makes it hard for others to love us.

But then there is the seed that falls on the good soil and produces a magnificent crop!

Isn’t that what you want your life to be?  I know that’s my goal.  I want to let the truth of God permeate my mind and my heart so that God can grow fruit through me – today and every day.

How about you?

Open my ears, Abba, so that I can hear.  Please open my heart and mind so your truth can make a permanent difference in my life.

Regret

It’s very painful.

We regret things we did…..

and we regret things we didn’t do.

One of the reasons regrets can be extremely difficult to deal with is because the action or lack of action is in the past.  Sometimes we can go back and apologize.

But there are times when we no longer have the chance to go back and try to make it right – we’ve lost touch with someone, situations have moved on to where there can be no positive conversation or, the big regret, someone has died before we got a chance to mend the rift.

Several times we read in the Bible that people were ‘gnashing their teeth’.

When I read that, I automatically think of the anguish of extreme regret –

I can’t believe I did that.

I can’t believe I didn’t notice that and say something or do something about it.

I should have called him as soon as I thought about him.

I am so sorry I didn’t tell her I loved her – now it’s too late.

Regret.

When it’s too late to try to make it right, you and I are left ‘gnashing our teeth’.  It hurts every time we think about it.

This phrase is always used in the Bible in relation to our final judgement.

For those of us who have believed and accepted salvation through Jesus, God has forgiven our sin once and for all time and we will go to our eternal home with our Father when we die.

Those who have not accepted salvation will have to pay the price for their rebellion and sin by being separated from God.

And they will experience the ultimate regret of missing the most important and beautiful and fulfilling relationship they could have had here on earth.  They will be ‘gnashing their teeth’ because the Light will leave their world.  They will exist in a dark and evil place under the rule of the Father of Lies.

Regret for missing the truth.

Regret for not admitting their sin and accepting the free gift of God’s grace.

Forever ‘gnashing their teeth.”

Please open their eyes, Abba Father.

 

It’s Intimidating

If you live in the United States and are employed, you are rich by the world’s standards.  You are in the top 3% of the world population if you make at least $30,000 a year.  Many of us are in the top 1% because we make more than that.

It may not feel like it since I live in the US but the truth is –  I am the rich person that God talks about so often in his Word.

Are you that rich person, too?

God gives us this truth in Luke 12, “From everyone who has been given much, much more will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Wow!  Intimidating!

I am definitely in the group that has been given much so much more is demanded of me.

I know I don’t actually own anything.  Everything I have has been entrusted to me by God.  And he expects me to use what he has given me for his purposes.  Years ago I also recognized that my children were his.  He loves them more than I do.  They are a gift to me to love and mentor during our time here on earth.

God demanded a very high price from me when my son, David Glasser, who was a police officer, was killed in the line of duty.  I know God is working his plan out here on earth but that doesn’t make the loss any smaller.  It doesn’t make the pain any less.

And ‘much’ is still being expected.

My son’s death was not all God is asking of me.  Now I have a new story of God’s love and faithfulness that I have to share.  Other people need to hear my story.  And that story is just beginning.

“From the one who has been entrusted with much, more will be asked.”

Please give me the strength and wisdom, Abba Father.

What Did She Do?

When I learn something really interesting, I love to share it.

When something great happens to me, I can’t wait to tell someone about it.

By her actions, this is exactly how the Samaritan woman felt after talking with Jesus.  She discovered he was the Messiah and didn’t even finish getting the water she had come to the well to get.  She left her jar and went into town, telling everyone she saw about Jesus.

She was excited.  She had great news!  She couldn’t wait to tell everyone!

One of the reasons this account is included in God’s word to us is to give us a great example to follow.

I should be like her – excited to tell people that I have met Jesus.  I should be anxious to share this Great News with them.

Satan has confused many of us by telling us that ‘religion’ is a personal thing.  ‘Religion’ may be private but my relationship with God should be as high on the list of topics to talk about with other people as my spouse or my children and grandchildren are.

Why not?  If we have our priorities right, he’s up there at the top.  And there’s no reason not to talk about that.  Many of us often disagree on which sports team to cheer for but we still talk about sports all the time, don’t we?  We don’t all like the same type of weather – hot or cold, sun or snow – but we still talk about the weather all the time, don’t we?

We can talk about God even though we don’t agree on everything.  We can’t let Satan keep us quiet.

And “many of the Samaritans from the town believed in him (Jesus) because of the woman’s testimony”  The people of the town had heard of the Messiah and now they knew someone who had met him.  So they believed.

Every day I experience the love and grace of Jesus in my life.

If you do, too, we both have a testimony which other people need to hear.

Please give us the opportunities and the words, Abba Father.

This is one of those prayers that God always says ‘yes’ to so be watching and ready.

Whoever…

Whenever.

Me, you, your family, your neighbors…..

someone you like……

and someone you don’t like.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Here it is – the Great News of the Gospel all in one verse!  Jesus told this to Nicodemus very early in his ministry.

Whoever.

Jesus’ arms are wide open for everyone.

Satan loves to twist the truth (always) when he whispers into people’s ears “God doesn’t really love everyone – why does Jesus say he’s the only way to heaven?  Shouldn’t there be lots of ways?”

Read John 3:16 again……slowly.

God loves us – all of us.  And he has paved the way of grace for all of us to be with him in heaven.  But there’s a price to be paid for our rebellion, lack of faith and sin.  And Jesus paid that price.  When any of us anywhere at any time accept salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the punishment that should have been ours is erased.  It’s gone.  Jesus’ death made our once-and-for-all forgiveness possible.

So let’s not let Satan get us all tangled up in his lies.  Let’s not let Satan distract us by offering ‘other ways’ that he tries to sell as more culturally relevant.

The truth doesn’t change.  John 3:16 is as important to us today as it was to Nicodemus thousands of years ago.

God loves the world and his grace is available FREE to everyone – even a thief on a cross who believed for the first time with his last breath.

Thank you for your gift of grace, Abba Father.

They Missed It!

But you and I don’t need to miss it.

Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane having a long, agonizing conversation with his Father about his crucifixion which was coming closer every minute.

Why did he keep going back to wake up his disciples?  He went back three times and they were asleep each time.

I think they were supposed to be learning an important lesson that night but they missed it.  Jesus was giving them a first-hand example of how we should respond to trials and tragedies in our lives.

Jesus talked with God all night.  He laid his human concerns and worries and fears at his Father’s feet – over and over and over.  For hours.  He let the love of his Father wash over him – pushing back the anxieties and concerns.

And did you catch the part where God sent an angel from heaven to give Jesus the strength to be obedient?

The disciples were asleep – but I’m not.

And I got the message.

In times of struggles and pain, I need to get as close to God as I can.  I learned this lesson years ago and I have found that it works – no matter what kind of nightmare I’m living through.  The closer I get to God, the easier it is for him to help me get through the darkness and hurt.  When I’m close, he can quickly wrap his arms around me, helping me to feel safe and loved.  When I’m right beside him, he it’s easier for him to guide me through the rough parts of this journey.

When I’m focused on him and his Word, I can see the angels he sends to give me the strength to be obedient….

and still.

This is what Jesus showed us in the Garden of Gethsemane.

And I know it works.

And now you know.

Please help us not miss this lesson, Abba Father.

How Can I Know the Way?

How do I figure out my next step?

How do I know who to believe?

How do I decide which way to go?

These are all tough questions with important answers.

Thomas asked Jesus this same question after Jesus told him he was going away to prepare a place for the disciples.  Thomas replies, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus replied, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the way.

I’m not going to choose the right path without him.  I’m not going to know what to believe unless I know the Truth.  I’m going to wander and end up places I don’t want to be if I don’t follow the Way.

It’s just that simple –

and that complicated.

I need to commit each day to following him,

commit each hour to believing in him,

and I need to commit each minute to trusting him if I really want to know the Way.

Please guide each of us in the right Way, Abba Father.