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.

Stay Focused

Issues.

Problems.

Disruptions.

Distractions.

There are times when I am challenged on every side.  Does this happen to you?

And it happens more often when I’m trying to do something good, stretching out of my comfort zone to help others to do something God is asking me to do.

We know what this is, don’t we?  Spiritual warfare.

We know who this is – Satan.

He doesn’t like it when I’m trying to do something good for other people – especially because God is involved.  So Satan throws up roadblocks and distractions whenever and however he can.

As I read about Nehemiah’s constant problems while leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, its easy to see how much Satan didn’t like what Nehemiah was doing.  Nehemiah ran into issues every step of the way – their Samaritan neighbors discouraged the workers by constantly taunting them, the rich people acted unfairly towards the poor people causing a lot of distractions, and then their neighbors started to threaten to attack them.

I think its significant that Nehemiah wasn’t scared or discouraged by any of this.  He wasn’t whining or trying to blame anyone.  He was not distracted from the goal God gave him to rebuild the wall.

He prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

He didn’t ask God to get rid of all of the problems.  He asked for strength to take care of them with God’s help.

And the wall around Jerusalem, which had laid broken in pieces for many, many years, was rebuilt in 52 days.

“With the help of our God”.

Please strengthen my hands, Abba Father.

 

 

How Do I Prepare?

When something big is going to happen in my life, what do I do to prepare?

I’m a planner so my preparation is often focused on lists of to-do’s and steps to get it all done.

It makes me pause when I read Esther’s response after the famous words of her uncle, ‘For such a time as this.”  Her first reaction was to gather all the Jews and ask them to fast with her.  She still decided her strategy and planned banquets.  But her first response was to get God right in the middle of it.  The fasting would help all of them remember exactly who was in control and who had the power to deliver them from the disaster that was coming.

That’s a good reminder for me.  The lists and the planning can wait.  When big things are coming my way, my first response should be acknowledging to God my need for his guidance and participation.

“For such a time as this”.

Please remind me when I forget, Abba Father.

 

Let Me Be Strong – Zechariah 8

Let my hands be strong in doing your work, Father.

Let my feet be strong as they follow you in the right path.

Let my brain be strong as it makes you and your will my priorities, Abba.

Let my heart be strong in its devotion to you.

Let my ears be strong as they filter through the lies of my culture to understand and live out the truth of your word, Father.

Let my lips be strong in pleasing you and speaking love to others.

Let my eyes be strong as they focus on you, Abba.

Let my legs be strong to carry me through this earthly place of sin and evil and pain.

Let my arms be strong as I lift them toward heaven, stretching up as you reach down to touch me – to touch my life.

Let my knees be strong as I kneel to thank you for your faithfulness and love, Father.

Let my soul be strong, Abba, as I live confidently on your promises each day – every day – until the day you bring me home.

Please keep me strong, Father.

 

Carefully Consider

My priorities are important to God.  When he tells me, “love me first”, he means it.  If I miss that, I can expect consequences.

God explains this to us in Haggai when his people had their priorities messed up. “Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much but harvest little.   You eat but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.  You put on clothes but are not warm.  You earn wages only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

God’s people were selfishly putting their own work in front of finishing God’s temple and they were paying the consequences.

Painful consequences.

I don’t want these words to describe my life so I need to carefully consider my priorities.  I need to choose God first and prioritize his purposes and his plans.  That’s the only way I’m going avoid harvesting little or feeling like I never have enough.

When I can change my self-centered thinking to God-centered thinking, it’s not hard to stay in line with his priorities.  I know he loves me with a perfect love.  He wants the best for me and nothing is impossible for him.

After careful consideration, I choose God.  I choose his priorities.

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

In the Beginning

Where were you in the beginning?

Where was I?

I’m in my 6th consecutive year of reading through the entire Bible and I just realized that Genesis 1 and John 1 both start with the same words, “In the beginning,”

Genesis 1 tells us what God and the Holy Spirit were doing ‘In the beginning’.  John 1 tells us what Jesus was doing ‘In the beginning’.

God had a plan for you and me ‘In the beginning’.  He knew when we would be conceived and he knows the date and time of our last breath here on earth.  Of course he knows that – he has Jesus scheduled to come and walk those who believe in him and trust in him home.

God loves us and had a purpose for us right from the beginning.  God reminds me of his love and grace and plan for me as I look at my new granddaughter’s first picture. 

She ‘began’ only 5 months ago.  God is molding her tiny fingernails and stretching out her little legs as you read this.  He has a plan for her.  He knows the date and time she will come out to meet us and he has already determined her final day on earth.  He loves her and is caring for her right now in her mother’s belly.

God was with her in her beginning.

God was with me in my beginning.

And he also was with you when you began.

Take a moment to feel his loving arms wrapped around you.  We were in our Father’s heart and hands ‘in the beginning’.  We are still there today and every day.

Please hold us close, Abba Father.  Thank you for loving and taking care of my teeny new grand-daughter.