My Special Possession

Do you have a special possession?

If someone asked me that, I would have to think awhile because I’m not very attached to “things”.   I’d probably say the ring that my mother left to me when she went home to heaven is special to me. It became invaluable to me after she was gone.

My own wedding ring is also important to me.  It symbolizes almost 40 years of love and commitment between my husband and I.  Every five years we changed or added to my ring so when I look at it, I see the history of us building a marriage that has lasted through many storms.  After our son who was a Phoenix Police Officer was killed in the line of duty, I added some blue sapphires onto my wedding ring in honor and remembrance of a great son and the awesome man he grew up to be.  Precious.

My eyes were opened to my real answer to that question this morning as I was reading in Ezekiel that God says he is the special possession of the priests.  The priests were not allowed to own any property or land.  God was all they needed.  God took care of them and he didn’t want them to be distracted by other possessions.

Wow!  This applies to me!  God takes care of me and provides for me.  He doesn’t want me to be distracted by possessions.

My relationship with God is my very special possession.  I can’t imagine life without him.  There is nothing I own –  my mother’s ring and my ring included – that gives me the love, joy and strength that God gives me.  Nothing gives me the forgiveness and freedom that only comes from God.

Yes, God is my special possession.  My relationship with him is so much more precious and perfect than anything I could every buy or own.

I live my life in gratitude for all you are, Abba Father, and for all you have done for me.

 

 

Life-giving

He doesn’t make us give up good things.

He doesn’t make our lives boring and rigid.

In Ezekiel God calls his laws ‘life-giving” and that’s exactly what I have experienced.

I have to explain first – I have a strong rebellious streak (which is no news to God) so I think of the words ‘God’s laws’ more like ‘rules’ that a good Father makes because he loves his children so much and wants the best for them.  God’s laws come from love, not from control, ignorance or anger.

My Father’s rules give me a life of freedom from the guilt and shame caused by my sins.    I am free to live each day in his grace and strength and love.

Living in line with God takes away any loneliness I might feel because he is always with me – loving and guiding me.

It’s life-giving.

Knowing God relieves me from worry and anxiety.  He is in control – now and into eternity.  I’m so glad I don’t need to try to control my world anymore.  The truth is I was never in control anyway – no matter how much I fretted about it and worked at it.

God’s got this – all this.  It’s life-giving.

Watching God move in my life and in the lives of others is constantly exciting because nothing,

nothing!

is impossible for God.

It’s life-giving.

Listening to God’s directions gives my life purpose and meaning.  This is extremely important to me.  He gives me motivation to get up in the morning.  God’s faithfulness is amazing as he teaches me how to keep growing my faith and obedience.

It’s life-giving.

I don’t have to give up anything I don’t want to give up.  In reality, there have been a lot of things I chose to give up because God showed me they were not good for me.  They weren’t helping me grow closer to him and they were sabotaging my efforts towards some things I really wanted – like a great marriage, awesome kids, a fulfilling career and making a positive difference in my world.  I gave up those things because I chose to give them up.  I traded them for God’s best in my life.

My Father’s life-giving rules are his very best for me.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

His Breath

Tired.

Dried out.

Lifeless.

Ever feel that way?

Do you feel that way now?

Good news!  God tells us through Ezekiel that he can bring us back to life.  He is able to breathe life back into our souls so that we can become alive in him again.

I know this is true because I’ve experienced it.

In my late 20’s I was what I call a ‘cultural Christian’.  I had loved God and believed in Jesus my whole life but my personal relationship with God was pretty non-existent at that time.  My family went to church and I sang in the choir.  I sat in the congregation on Sunday and commented on what a great sermon it was but I rarely remembered it past the parking lot.   I prayed – but I never listened.  I never watched for God’s answer.

I was too busy with all the other things I thought I wanted.  I had a great husband, two awesome kids, a good start on career, nice cars and our first house.  Everything was great, right?

Then why did I feel so anxious and lost and stressed all the time?  I had everything I thought I needed but my life still felt very empty.  If this is all there was, I didn’t want it.  It was all wayyyyyyy too much work.

My husband was going through a similar angst and he began to be discipled by a very Godly man.  As I watched, I was amazed to see my husband gradually find the joy and fulfillment that I was looking for.

Wow!  I never even considered that a relationship with God could be the answer to my emptiness.

So I opened up my heart and mind to God.  One of the pivotal steps I took was to become a member of a small group who was studying the Bible and getting serious about their relationships with God.

Through studying God’s word and experiencing the power of small group Bible studies, I started to hear God.  I began to know his voice.  And he challenged me to seriously put him first in my life.

No Way!  That was a crazy idea!  I already had a husband, kids, career, family, friends and church on my plate.  I was struggling every day not lose ‘me’ in all of that.

But I knew I had to try something.  I realized that my lack of purpose and joy wasn’t going to work long term.  The cracks that were starting to show up in my life were going to break wide open if I kept running on empty.

So I gradually started to put God first.

As I read and listened and opened up my heart to God, I began to feel the hole in my life start to fill up.  He breathed a fresh wind of his love and grace and strength into my soul.

I discovered that God wanted me to put him first in my life so he could help me with all the rest.  He has made me a better wife, a better mother, a better boss, a better sister and a better friend.  That’s what he does when we put him first.

God’s love has filled my life to the point that it overflows onto the people around me.  The two greatest commandments – loving God and loving others – are accomplished in our lives by doing the first one.   When we really love God with all our hearts, we experience so much of his love that it naturally runs over into the lives of the people around us.

All orchestrated by God as he breathes life deep into our souls.

There are no dry bones here.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Under Attack

I’ve been there.

Have you?

I have often felt the attacks of the Evil one.  So I can relate to the Israelites when I read in Jeremiah that the siege ramps were being built against the walls of Jerusalem.  The attack is coming!  I can feel it.

I’ve been there.

When I read that the city will be conquered through war, famine and disease, it all sounds familiar.  Attacked on all sides – I’ve been there.

How does Satan attack me?  It’s not unusual for my computer to start not working well when I sit down to enter these blogs.  If my computer is behaving, then the internet or WordPress will start being uncooperative.  Satan doesn’t like these blogs and he doesn’t try to hide it.

Satan also tries to distract me from the Truth with his whispers in my head at night trying to make me question the fact that God is good.  I normally start reciting scripture and the whispers stop.  My questions also stop because I am reminded of the truth.

Satan often tries to get me to focus on the negative things in my life.  He’ll pile on the junk trying to get me to think about all of that instead of God.  He attempts to make bitterness, frustration and unforgiveness look like the natural response to situations in my life.  Regular reading and study of God’s word keeps me grounded in the Truth.

None of these attacks are working, Satan.

Meanwhile, I know God’s Army of Angels surround me and they are fighting my battles in the spiritual realm.  We already know the end of this story – God and his armies are the winners.

Satan with his siege ramps has no power unless I give it to him.

And he isn’t getting a toehold here.

Thank you for your Truth and your Army of Angels, Abba Father.

What Does It Mean?

It all connects.

Choices I make today result in consequences I have to deal with tomorrow….

and 10 years from now….

and 20 years from now.

My decisions are important.  I have to figure out ahead of time if my choices are going to take me to a place I want to be.

I need wisdom, right?  Some of this stuff is hard to decide.  So I go to God.  In James 1, God has promised to give me generous amounts of wisdom whenever I ask.  I just have to believe I have received it.  I need to trust him and get rid of any doubts.

How can I be so sure that it’s God talking to me and guiding instead of myself or  – even worse – Satan?  I have studied God’s word for many years and, when I am listening, I recognize his voice.  I know what he would say.  I know his truth and that’s what he uses to guide me.

It’s so much different that the lies of this world.  It’s easy to discern.

I love the story in Daniel of the human hand that appeared and wrote a message to King Belshazzar on the wall in the middle of his big party.  It was a warning.  The bad consequences of his choices had piled up and the King was going to pay the price with his life.  He died that night.

I obviously want to make better choices that King Belshazzar did.  So I go to God early on in my decision-making.  And – sometimes – he writes a warning on the wall in my mind.  “Don’t go there, you won’t like what happens.”  “Don’t do that, you won’t like the consequences.”

I love these warnings because he is always right (of course).  I really don’t want to go there.  I definitely don’t want to do that.  I need to make a better decision now so that I don’t end up in a place I never wanted to be.

It all connects.

Please give us your wisdom, Abba Father.

It’s Supernatural

I can’t explain it.  There are no logical and rational ways to describe the ‘God magic’ that happens in my life.  I have story after story of God interacting with my life and God intervening in my life.

One of the ways God constantly intervenes in my life is enabling me to memorize scripture.  I have a terrible memory.  I don’t remember names, I don’t remember dates, I don’t remember who wrote what or who sang what.  I have trouble remembering my own phone number sometimes.

But I can memorize scripture.  I do the legwork of getting out my cards hundreds of times and then God gradually etches his words on my brain.  I have memorized several chapters of the Bible including James 1 and now I’m halfway through James 2.  The whole book of James is my goal – unless God changes it.  Supernatural.  It’s not me.

I had a family situation a while ago where I thought I needed to take care of something.  I thought I needed to call someone and get something figured out.  I was really concerned about it and kept praying about it but it looked like nothing was happening.  I kept putting this call on my ‘to do’ list for each day and it never got done.  That’s very unusual for me so I realized God was stopping me from making this call.  Then I got a call from the family member involved and they had totally taken care of the situation in the way that I was going to suggest.  How awesome that this person decided to do the right thing on their own (with some serious nudging from God).  My job was just to encourage them and pat them on the back!  Perfect!

God had it handled.  I learned a lot from that situation.  I have to give God time to orchestrate his answers.  I have to pray and keep my mouth shut.  I have to actually give situations to God without taking them back.  I realized I always want him to work his ‘magic’, it’s  better that way.

So, when I read in Daniel that Daniel has some of the same vision that Ezekiel had, it’s not hard to recognize God doing his supernatural thing.  Their visions were extremely similar even though Daniel’s was many years after Ezekiel’s.  I’m not surprised.  If its true, it’s true.  They were visions about the ‘end times’ so they are still true today.

The visions were about the ongoing battle between good and evil – God and Satan.  We are in the middle of that same battle today and this conflict will not be finished until the world ends.

Meanwhile, when we have faith and trust in our powerful Creator God, we get to experience the supernatural.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I Need to Prepare!

It’s ominous.

It’s scary.

And it’s very real.

In the beginning of the book of Job, Satan meets God in heaven and tells him he had just come ‘from roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Oh, yeah.  Satan is very real.

And he’s close.  He whispers lies into our ears – constantly.  He encourages us to focus on ourselves and do what we want.  Forget about what God wants.  This is our natural inclination so it’s easy to do.

Too easy.

Satan persistently whispers a list of our past mistakes and failures into our ears – trying to keep us feeling powerless and ‘less’.  He wants us to forget that Jesus died for those sins and God no longer sees them.  They are forgiven – past, present and future.

When God looks at us, he sees his children, whom he loves with a perfect love.  Thank you, Abba Father.

I cannot listen to Satan.

You cannot listen to Satan.

We are forgiven.  When we plug into our all-powerful and loving God, nothing is impossible.  I believe that.  Do you?

So I need to be prepared to fight off Satan.  You need to be prepared to fight.

God tells us in Ephesians to put on his armor because our struggles are not against flesh and blood.  We need to put on the –

Belt of truth.

Breastplate of righteousness.

Sandals of Peace.

Shield of Faith.

Helmet of Salvation.

Sword of the Spirit.

This is how I need to prepare.  This is how you need to prepare.  Put it all on.  Wear it everyday.  We need to let the armor of God mold around our hearts and minds so Satan can’t mess with them.

Be prepared.

Satan’s next attack is coming.

Please help us put on your armor everyday, Abba.  Guard our hearts and minds.

Struggling With Adversity

Have you been there?

I have.  I am still struggling with the most extreme adversity I have ever experienced.  On May 18, 2016 my world exploded.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on that day.

I have experienced quite a lot of death in my life but this is – by far – the hardest.

Davey was a unique young man who was dedicated to serving his community and dedicated to living life to its fullest with fun, going everywhere and anywhere, while collecting a vast number of friendships. He did all of this with an obvious devotion and love for his family.  My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his wife and 2 children the last 5 years of his life.  We talked with him daily and saw him almost every day for one reason or another.

I don’t have the words for how painful this last 2 1/2 years has been.  It defines adversity.

As I begin to read the book of Job, I look forward to reading Job’s story as he deals with all the terrible things that happen to him.   He had people saying strange and wrong things to him.  I can relate.  He had more tough things that happened to him after the first big shock.  I can relate.  He questioned God and wondered why this was all happening to him.  I can relate.  He was overwhelmed with sorrow.  I can relate.

Job was confident that his redeemer lives and – in the end – he wins.  I can relate.  He knew that God was in total control and all-powerful.  I can relate.  He  understood that he would never totally understand God.  I can relate.

Job committed his life to being faithful to God in spite of his circumstances.  He praised God in the middle of all of the pain he was experiencing.  I can relate.  He knew that is was wise to turn from evil and love God.  I can relate.

Job had a long conversation with God.  I can relate – I have had many long conversations with God about my son’s death.  Job confessed that he did not understand.  I can relate – I will never completely understand this.  Job’s eyes were opened in a new way to the reality that God has a plan and purpose for each of us and that God’s ways are not our ways.  I can relate.

God gave Job peace in the middle of his pain and blessed him.

I can relate.

I love you, Abba Father. 

My Only Inheritance

It’s not my house.

It’s not my IRA or retirement.

It’s not my bank accounts.

My relationship with God is the only thing of lasting value that I have.  Everything else will be gone when I leave this earth.  And that could be tomorrow.  Or even later today.

Only God knows.

So am I putting the right priority on all this stuff that is so temporary?  Am I spending my time and money on things that matter?

God tells Ezekiel that he was the only inheritance the priests of Israel were going to have.  The priests had no possessions and they ate from the offerings the Israelites brought to the temple.

God wanted the priests to focus on him, not their earthly possessions.

God wants the same for us.

I learned an important lesson about this about 15 years ago when we downsized from a big 4-bedroom house with a pool to an apartment in order to join the Apartment Life Ministry.  If you haven’t heard of them, look them up.  Awesome ministry.

But back to the move!  So much stuff.  We had lived in that house of 14 years while my children were growing up.  The house was pretty empty right after we moved in but it was full when we started moving out.

Whole rooms of furniture and ‘stuff’ needed to be sold or given away.  I knew God was calling us into this ministry but I just didn’t know how I was going to get rid of all these material belongings.  It was too much.  Then God told me that the secret was to hold the material things of this world loosely.  I remember walking through my house crying with my hands out, “letting loose” of all the things that surrounded me.  After that, it became easy to pick out the things that needed to come with us and the rest went.

It was a relief.  It was refreshing.

And when we got all moved into the apartment, we had everything we needed.  Only the extra was gone.

That experience changed my attitude toward earthly possessions.  Less really is more.   Less means less to clean and organize and store and maintain.

Having less “stuff” has given me more room and time for my relationship with God.  Just like he planned.

Thank you for the life-changing lessons you give us, Abba Father.

Really Alive

A valley of bones.

Millions of bones.

Then God breathes into them – “they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.”

Wow!!

Growing up in church, I always thought this vision of Ezekiel should be preached around Halloween because a valley full of dry bones suddenly connecting and stand up is creepy as well as scary.

How time changes things!  Now I love this visual because it’s exactly what happened when I turned over my whole heart to God.  His breath went deep into my soul and – for the first time – I was truly alive.  I have a purpose.  I have been re-created into one of the soldiers in his army – wearing his armor and working hard next to my spiritual brothers and sisters to push back evil.

God gives me hope.  Not the ‘I wish’ hope.  This hope is cemented into my heart by the promises of God.  I know who is in control and I know he has plans to prosper me.  I know where I’m going when I leave this earth.  I know who wins in the end.

His redeeming love has turned my dry bones into something good and useful.  His breath moves my soul and brings new life each day.

There are no more dry bones here.

What about you?

Thank you for your breath of real life, Abba Father.