What Do I Choose?

Do I choose to be healthy or unhealthy?

” Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body.  When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light.  But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness.”  Jesus tells us this very important truth which affects our whole body.

My eyes determine my emotional, mental and spiritual health.

What am I looking at?

What am I focusing on?

What am I watching – letting all of it go directly into my brain?

What am I reading?

Who am I watching?

Who are the people I’m surrounding myself with who are influencing me?  What behaviors and values do I see in them?  Are those the same values and behaviors I want in my life?  I’m not judging them, I’m trying to make good choices about what my eyes regularly see – because it affects my whole body.

Do I want to live in the light?  Or in the darkness?

I choose.

You choose.

It all goes into our brain through our eyes.  Thoughts become attitudes and attitudes become actions.

Healthy or unhealthy – it’s our choice.

Please help us be very careful about what we let our eyes see, Abba Father.

Would You Like to Get Well?

Is anybody feeling sick?

Lonely?

Angry?

Confused?

Empty?

Sad?

Stuck in a dark place?

I have been in all of these situations.

When Jesus says, “Would you like to get well?” to the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, I can relate.   Several different times in my life I have needed healing. (picture is from my visit to the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem) A couple of times it was physical healing but more often it was mental, emotional or spiritual healing.  So I asked and Jesus healed me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have some physical issues like compressed disks in my neck.  God must have a different plan for those because, no matter how many doctors I see and how many times I have asked, God has not healed them.

Looking back, I can see that Jesus has been in the process of healing my spiritual, mental and emotional issues ever since I put him first in my life.  One step at a time.  Perseverance in running this race of faith is the key – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Every once in awhile God throws in some of his special ‘magic’ where he opens my eyes to something big – I call those epiphanies.  I will have a sudden deeper understanding of a significant truth or God will show me how he is already working out something in my life.  That’s always an exciting experience!

Anytime I feel lonely, unhappy, angry, confused, empty or stuck, I know I need to spend some significant time with God.  He reorganizes my thoughts, straightens out my emotions and calms my soul.

Sounds like healing, doesn’t it?

Thank you, Abba Father.

Real Friends

I need real friends.

You need real friends.

Real friends are people who care about us, easily forgive us and want the best for us.  They are the people in our lives who cheer us on in the good times and listen well with extra tissues ready during the bad times.

Good friends also love us enough to speak up when we are getting off track.  They will hold us accountable for behavior that is not good for us.  They ask questions about our choices when our behavior is not going to help us reach the goals they know we want to achieve.  They love us enough to speak truth into our lives.

These friends also love us enough to share their love of God with us.  They walk beside us as we grow in our knowledge of God and celebrate with us when we experience the power and love of God in our lives.  They encourage us through the struggles of admitting we aren’t in control and they cheer us on as we figure out the only answer is to submit our Father God who is in control.

They help bring us to Jesus.

This is just like the four men who brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus in the second chapter of Mark.  Their friend couldn’t move, so his four friends carried him around on a mat.  They heard that this man, Jesus, was healing people – even paralyzed people – so they were determined to get their friend to Jesus.

You might think they would have been discouraged when they arrived and saw the huge crowd of people around the house that Jesus was in.  They didn’t care – this was their friend and this was going to happen….today…..right now.

So they carried their friend on his mat up to the top of the house and dug a hole in the roof right over Jesus’ head.  Then they lowered the mat down in front of Jesus.

Seeing the faith of his friends, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ” Stand up, pick up your mat and go home.”

“And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat and walked through the stunned onlookers.”

Jesus honored the faith of this man’s friends and healed the paralyzed man.

Do I have any friends who need to get to Jesus?

Do you?

Are we good enough friends to help them get close enough to be touched by our Savior?

Please help us be good friends, Abba Father.

Giving Light

The world that surrounds me needs light.

The culture that you and I live in needs a great light to break out over us.

There is too much darkness.

Too many shadows.

No peace.

Why are so many people missing it?

Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied before Jesus was born that ‘the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

The Light has come and his name is Jesus!

I love the morning light.

The back patio of my house faces east onto a green space.  Every morning the sun breaks over the trees and the distance mountains, bringing light and warmth into my life.

Each day, the rising sun reminds me of God’s love and faithfulness.

Dear Father, thank you for the light you bring into my world every day.  I lift up all the people around me who are missing the light.  They are missing you.  Open their eyes, Father.  Open their hearts. 

Please make those of us who know you bold in sharing our experiences with you to the people we know around us who sit in darkness.  We want them to know you, Father.  We want your light to break out upon them and bring peace. 

In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Test Him

Usually it is not a good idea.

I won’t like the consequences.

I’m talking about testing God.  God wants us to have faith in him and trust him.  If I’m smart, I’m not going to test God’s patience or mercy or love.

With one exception.

There is one place in the Bible where God says, “Test me”.

He knows all the issues we have with money – it quickly becomes our god, we always want more and we’re willing to sacrifice our families to get it, we have trouble giving generously, we get in such deep debt that we think we can’t give.  Just to name a few.

So God says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…..I will pour out blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!  Try it!  Put me to the test!”

I have attended a couple of different churches who sponsor a 90 day challenge for giving to God.  People tithe for 90 days – no cheating because nothing is hidden from God – and they watch God move in their finances.  If they don’t see God move, they get their money back.

But they never ask for their money back because God always moves.  I love it!  Test him!

And you will find out what those of us that have committed to tithing have found out – the refunds, checks for overpayment and unexpected credit to our accounts start rolling in.   Regular stories like this –

I had a dental claim paid by my insurance and the medical assistant looked at me with surprise when she handed me back a check for $900 and told me that insurance NEVER covers this part of the procedure but they did for me.

My husband recently had a dental issue that was not covered by insurance and would cost $2500.  Since we’re retired and live close to Mexico, we decided to try going to one of the towns in Mexico that is well-known for their good dentists, lower prices and more options.  The $10 x-ray in Mexico showed that there were no longer any issue.  If I wanted to be cynical, I could say the first dentist was just trying to get some money from us but we had gone to him for several years and he had always been the opposite – trying to make sure we got the most for our money and not doing anything that didn’t need to be done.

I prefer to give God the credit for that $2500 windfall.  He decided to bless us!  How awesome!

You would hear these kinds of stories from anyone who has committed to tithe.  God is faithful and we can count on him to respond when we are generous givers.

I also believe God moves in how often our cars break down and our appliances quit working. If we are stingy with God, don’t be surprised with high car repair bills and appliances that keep having problems.

Through the years, we have given two of our older cars to charity because we know God will bless us more for that than the $700 or $800 we could sell them for.  We recently donated a 2 year-old refrigerator to a church mission for the same reason.  God knows.

When you and I faithfully tithe, we are putting our finances under the umbrella of God’s blessing.  When we do that, he not only blesses our finances, he pours other blessings into our lives as well.  These are things that money can’t buy – like joy, love and purpose.  And more.

So much more pours out that it fills us up and starts to spill over to the people around us.  The windows of heaven open up for us when we get our money in line with God.  The more we give, the more we have.  That’s God’s math.  We cannot outgive God.

If you don’t have any of these stories, go ahead and test God!  I know what will happen.

Thank you for your faithfulness with our finances, Abba Father.

Truth – Not Lies

It’s a struggle, isn’t it?

Figuring out which way to go is not easy.  Discerning between truth and lies is tough.  Avoiding the bad decision to give into temptations – those things that are very attractive to us but aren’t good for us.

I am very inspired and encouraged by the account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.  Satan approached Jesus when he was at his weakest point – after a 40-day fast.  Of course, Satan offers him a way to get good food fast.  After a 40 day fast?  I can’t imagine it.

This is what Satan does to you and me, too.  He waits until we are most vulnerable and then dangles the carrot – or the bottle of beer, or the dish of ice cream, or the credit card – in front of us.

Satan tried to coax Jesus into turning some of the stones within his reach into bread.  “You need some food, Jesus.”

Satan also tried to get Jesus to show his strength and to prove his identity by jumping off the temple so the angels could swoop in with a big dramatic flare and save him.

Satan tried to appeal to Jesus’ human need for recognition and ‘more’ by offering him all the kingdoms of the world.

In each situation, Jesus replies with scripture.  Of course he does.  Because those are his Father’s words which are always true and always wise.

What a great role model for me! And for you!  When we are tempted, we should see what God has to say about it.  I’ve found it’s even better to memorize scripture so, just like Jesus, we can recall God’s words right in the middle of a situation.

That’s one of the reasons I love this account of Jesus’s life so much.  God does this in my life.  When I need truth and wisdom and I ask him for it, God highlights some of the scripture in my brain that I have memorized.

God has etched truth and wisdom into my head and he uses it daily to guide me.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Not ‘Good Enough’

I am not ‘good enough’.

If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m sorry to be the first one to tell you that you’re not ‘good enough’.

On our own, we will never be ‘good enough’.  No amount of giving love, time or money can make us good enough.   Thank you, Father God, for your saving grace offered to all of us through the sacrifice and resurrection of your son, Jesus.  Because accepting salvation through Jesus makes me ‘good enough’.  I can’t do it by myself.

And it’s out of my love for and gratitude to God that I strive to ‘run the race’ of faith in a way that honors him.  Sometimes I’m able to run the race well and sometimes I fail.  That’s why I’m so glad that God loves me in spite of what I do, not because of what I do.  I can’t earn my salvation and that’s a relief because I will never be good enough on my own.

Every year, as I read through the Bible, I am reminded of God’s unconditional love for me as his child as I read the account of Jesus’ baptism.  Jesus hadn’t started his ministry yet at this point.  He hadn’t done any miracles or told any parables yet.

And God said, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

God was pleased with Jesus before he started his ministry.

Let that sink in.

God has told me that I am his child, the daughter of a king.  This means he loves me and is pleased with me in spite of what is in my head sometimes and in spite of what comes out of my mouth other times.  He loves me even when I don’t listen and just do what I want to do.  He loves me when I’m tired and crabby and no fun to be around.

I am so grateful for God’s grace……..because I could never be ‘good enough’ on my own.

Love you, Abba Father.

He Sends an Angel

Have you talked with an angel lately?

I’m reading the various accounts of Jesus’ birth in the gospels.  My chronological Bible puts them all together and I’m amazed once again by all of the personal interaction humans had with angels during this time.

Angels were popping up all over!

I’m a little jealous.  I think it would be fabulous – and a little scary – to talk with an angel.  There’s a reason the first thing angels always say to humans is “Fear not”.

Such a moment!  I know God sent you.  I get it – this is a supernatural interaction and I am all ears.

But – then I realized.  God still sends angels into my life today but they wear regular clothes and walk on two legs like me.

Since Jesus turned everything upside down by dying on the cross for us and sending his Spirit to live inside of believers, I think God often uses us average-type people to be angels for each other.  When we obey the voice of the Holy Spirit, God can use us like he uses angels in the New Testament.  God can speak through us into other people’s lives to love each other, encourage each other and to speak truth.

God has commissioned all believers to have a purpose and a part in his plan here on earth.

That’s you and me.

Wings are optional.

Love you, Abba.

What Do I Believe?

Do I really believe God loves me unconditionally?

Do I really believe God is all-powerful and that nothing is impossible for him?

Do I really believe that God wants the best for me and is working everything out for my good?

Yes, I do.

And, because I believe these things, I am willing to live each day based on these truths.

I bet some of these same thoughts, questions and decisions must have been going through Mary’s mind as the Angel Gabriel told her she was going to give birth to a son who would be a great king and whose kingdom would never end.

What did she really believe?  Was she willing to accept this very tough, extremely supernatural assignment for her life with the calm assurance that God would keep all of his promises to her?

Mary’s faith was strong and sure.  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  Then the angel left her.

Right answer, Mary!

Does this challenge you?  It definitely challenges me.

God has given me a very tough road to travel following the death of my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 19, 2016.

It’s a very dark, grief-filled road with lots of hazards.

Do I believe that God can work even this evil and horrible event out for my good?  That’s a very difficult question.

And my answer is yes.

But the good that will come from this will be good based on God’s perspective which is not always my perspective.   You can probably imagine my perspective – I want Davey to still be here on earth, living less than 2 miles from me, dropping by later with his son to pick up my husband so they can all go to Home Depot like they did at least once a week.  That will never happen again.

God’s perspective is focused on eternity and he is teaching me some lessons I never wanted to learn about focusing myself on eternity as well.  I am realizing that people getting the chance to hear the messages of Davey’s legacy of love is a win for God.  The opportunities we are getting to share God’s love with others is a win for God.  Any chance I get to tell my story of God’s faithfulness to me and to my family  through this tragedy is a win for God.

And – as long as God is winning – I’m good.  I’ll submit.  I’ll trust.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Love you, Abba Father.

400 years of Silence

I can’t imagine it – God being silent for 400 years.

That’s the amount of time between the Old Testament and the New.   So it is said that God was silent.

But was he?  Really?

It’s hard for me to imagine that my Father God who loves us and cares for us so diligently each day would be quiet for 400 years.  I think it’s very possible that he was speaking and interacting with people at that time but none of it was meant to become part of his revelation to us so it was not included in the Bible.

When I think about how much I need God each day and knowing that there were some faithful people during that time as well, it doesn’t make sense that he was actually silent for 400 years.  It doesn’t sound like something he would do.

But we know that there were 400 years between the two parts of the Bible.  For some reason, God put in a significant break before he begins the account of his greatest Gift of all time – salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

Mark’s account says, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the son of God”.

John’s account says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

The Light of the World was arriving – we would never be the same.

Amen.  Hallelujah!

Thank you, Abba Father.