What Makes Him Happy?

Being ‘good enough’ is not my goal.  Getting my act together is not my goal.  Checking all the boxes – keeping busy with ‘God’ stuff – is not my goal.

The historical account of Jesus’ baptism tells me what pleases God, what makes him happy.

I do.

If you have put your faith in Jesus, you do.

When I trusted in Jesus and was redeemed by his sacrifice on the cross, I was adopted by God and became one of his precious daughters.  ‘Joint heirs with Jesus’ – as an old hymn describes it.  What Jesus did for me makes me ‘good enough’.

While reading about Jesus’ baptism, I realize a very important fact. Jesus hadn’t started his ministry yet.  He hadn’t DONE anything huge for God.  “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17.

Let’s take a moment to let that soak in, my brothers and sisters.  Jesus was God’s son and God was pleased with him – before his ministry began.  Before Jesus did any miracles.  Before he did any teaching. During this spectacular moment when all three parts of our Triune God met on earth, the only thing our Father God wanted to say was how much he loved his son, Jesus.

Accepting salvation through Jesus makes you and I children of God and, as with his son, Jesus, God is pleased with us. It’s not what anything we do, it’s all about who we are.

Feel his smile shining down on you.

Feel his unconditional love.

Feel his forgiveness for any guilt that is weighing heavy on your shoulders.

Feel his peace flow over you in a supernatural way.

Feel his strength flow through you as he walks right beside you each day.

Let his joy fill your heart today.

Don’t DO anything.  Just feel the pleasure he has as he looks at you.  He sees himself in you.  We are all created in his image, yet each one of us reflects different aspects of him – making us all uniquely his.

I am important to God.  He has made me special.

You are very important to him.  He has made you special.

And he is pleased.

Thank you, Abba Father.

What’s Your Story?

I have a story.

You have a story.

How did we get here? Tell me about the mountains you climbed and I’ll tell you about the valleys I’ve struggled through.

God tells us in Psalm 107 that we all need to tell our stories.  “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” Psalm 107: 2.

Each of us has a unique tale to share.

Some of us have wandered, looking for a place to belong. We were hungry for love, starving for a purpose. When we cried out to God, he drew us closer to himself – to the place he made just for us. God gave us a purpose to get up every morning.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us lived in darkness, bound by chains of rebellion, stumbling through life with no help in sight. But we cried out to the LORD and he brought us out of the utter darkness, breaking all of our chains.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Some of us made very foolish decisions and were suffering through the consequences of those to the point of thinking that death might be an option.  But, instead, we turned to God for help and he healed us, rescuing us from the living death we found ourselves in.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us have experienced violent storms in our lives as huge waves of pain and grief washed over us. When our courage and strength were gone, we finally cried out to the LORD and he “stilled the storm with a whisper”, calmed the waves and guiding us home to him.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

My story is that I have known Jesus as my Savior my entire life but I decided to wander in my young adulthood – trying out all the ‘fun’ things the world had to offer. It seemed great at first but gradually my life because very empty and filled with darkness. So I called out to God who made it very clear to me that he had never left me. When I turned back to him, I found him waiting for me with open arms.

God has been gradually drawing me closer to him as I travel this Journey towards the Truth each day. I have left the emptiness and darkness behind, finding meaning and light as I put God first in my life. 

I will continue to tell my story for the rest of my life, giving thanks to God for he is good.

What Am I Supposed to do?

When the path right in front of me looks like its straight up hill.

When the issue confronting me is big

and confusing

and scary

and heart-breaking.

When I am threatened on all sides by more problems, more sadness, more darkness.

What am I supposed to do?

please-strengthen-my-hands

When Nehemiah found himself in this type of situation, he turned to God and prayed “Now strengthen my hands.”(6:9)

Nehemiah had groups of powerful people plotting against him as he led the Jews in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  His enemies were trying to frighten the Jews so their hands would become too weak to continue to work on the wall.  But God answered Nehemiah’s prayers and the wall was eventually finished.

Is there something in your life that looks like its impossible to accomplish?  Impossible to fix?

Give it to God.  Ask him to strengthen your hands and then trust that he is answering.  He may use you like he did Nehemiah to actually orchestrate the answer.  Or  he may want your strong hands to be folded in prayer before him, admitting your dependence on him and remaining faithful while he works all things out for your good.

Either way,  God’s got this.

Please strengthen my hands, Abba Father.

Looking For It

Where can I find satisfaction?

Is contentment even a possibility for you?

God speaks to you and me in Haggai about the negative consequences that happen when we have our priorities wrong –

We work hard but have little to show for it…except for a lot of bills.

We eat but there is still a hunger in our souls.

We drink but we are still thirsty….for something.

We put on new clothes but then we need to buy more because the last thing we bought didn’t satisfy us.

“You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:6.

Can you relate to any of those?

I can.  I have experienced all of those at different times of my life when my eyes were focused on something other than God.

I love how God uses the image of a purse – or pockets for us today – full of holes.  Before I put God first in my finances, all the money we made disappeared so fast that it felt like all of my pockets had holes in them.  And was I satisfied?  No!

I learned that if my life is about money and stuff, I will never have enough.  And that is what God is telling you and I today in Haggai.  God was talking to the Israelites because they were busy building their own houses while ignoring the rebuilding of God’s house, the Temple.

What is keeping you and I too busy to put God first in our lives?

God is telling us to get our priorities straight and THEN we will find satisfaction.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father

He is Already Responding

Do you ever feel like God is not listening to your prayers? It can feel like this when he doesn’t respond in the way we want him to. It can also feel like this when we just aren’t seeing him move.

God tells us today in the book of Daniel that he heard Daniel’s prayer and sent the angel Gabriel to earth to give a message to him while Daniel was still praying.

“As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” Gabriel told Daniel. Daniel 9:23.

Wow!  As soon as Daniel began to pray, God was responding.  Right away.  Daniel hadn’t even finished praying before God was taking action on his request.

Love it!

God is telling you and me that this is still happening today when we pray.  Before I have finished praying, God is moving, responding, orchestrating things for my good – every day, all day.

Yes, the angel said Daniel was ‘highly esteemed’. Daniel prayed long and often to God. He had a close relationship with God that helped him pray in line with God’s will. We know that, when we pray for what God wants done, it always happens, the answer is always ‘yes’.

I know when I turn to God and pray, recognizing my dependence on him, he takes action. Sometimes I see him moving and other times I don’t. But I trust that he is and I often – in His perfect timing – see the results. Just this weekend I found out that a very important, longer-term prayer of mine has been answered.

I don’t need an angel to tell me that God is listening, I have his Word on it.

Thank you for always listening and responding, Abba Father

What!?

A human hand – unattached to a body – appeared and wrote a message on the wall.

What?!

Daniel tells us this actually happened in the middle of King Belshazzar’s huge banquet!  “Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace.” Daniel 5:5.

You may have heard someone say the phrase ‘I can read the writing on the wall’.  I tend to use this phrase when I’m making a prediction of how a situation is going to work out. I had no idea until the first time I read the entire Bible that this came from the book of Daniel.

After he got over the shock of seeing the hand, King Belshazzar realized he had no idea of what the message meant. But he knew that it obviously was very important. So he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.  Daniel read the writing and told the king that God was bringing the king’s reign to an end because, ” ..you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” Daniel 8:23.

That very night, the message on the wall was fulfilled and Belshazzar was killed.

One part of the message on the wall was ‘Tekel’ which means “you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” Daniel 5: 27.

The bad news for all of us is – our scales don’t look any better.  Our rebellion.  Our need for control.  Our self-centeredness.  Our disbelief and lack of obedience. Our busyness which causes us to ignore God.

The writing on our wall would have the same message…..

except for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave us an ‘out’.

He sent his perfect son, Jesus, to save us from eternal separation from God.  The entire Bible is a love story about how God created us in his image and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us.

Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus offers a gift of grace to each one of us – that’s his part.  Our part is accepting his free gift. Jesus wants to move the scales in our favor.

When we put our trust in Jesus, we become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’. Jesus did it for you and I….

for all time,

for all who will believe and receive.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

My Plan

Do you have a plan for your life?

I know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.

As I read Psalm 89, my plan jumps right off the page- “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” vs 1.  I will tell everyone I know about how I have experienced your faithfulness all my life, Abba Father.

I will talk about your perfect love for me and the abundant blessings you have showered down on my life.

I will walk with you all of the days I have left on this earth, Father, until the day we walk into heaven together, hand in hand.

I will find my peace in your strength.  I will find my joy in your love and faithfulness.  I will find my strength in your righteousness and justice.

I will walk in the light of your presence each day, Father. 

And I will continue to sing of your great love forever.

Amen and Amen.

It’s a Struggle

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 5 1/2 years have been.  It defines adversity.  Living with the reality of my circumstances is a struggle.

As I read the book of Job in the Bible, I can relate.  Job experiences the shock of getting terrible news that all of his children have been killed.  I can relate.   Then, after the first horrible news,  painful things just kept happening.  I can relate.  When people around him started saying strange and wrong things to him, I can relate.  Job questioned God and wondered why this was all happening to him.  I can relate.  He was overwhelmed with sorrow.  I can relate.

It’s a huge struggle.

Job was confident that his redeemer lived and he was confident that – in the end – his redeemer wins.  I can relate.  He knew that God was in total control and all-powerful.  I can relate.

Job committed his life to being faithful to God in spite of his circumstances.  I can relate. 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.

Thank you for helping me in my struggle, Abba Father.

I See His Work

What do you do in a thunderstorm? Check out the clouds? Watch the wind rip through the trees? Count the seconds between the flash of the lightening and the roll of thunder?

I recently spent two weeks by Lake Okoboji in Iowa which is near where I grew up. It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by lots of vacation homes, condos and hotels. One of the days I was there it rained all day – it was raining when we woke up and still raining when we went to bed.

This reminded me of one of the my favorite things about this part of the country. It’s farmland as far as you can see but there is no irrigation here – God himself waters this land. I remember times as a kid when the farmers needed more rain. So we had a prayer meeting. And when we had a prayer meeting for rain, the large church I grew up in was full – wall to wall people, standing room only. Everyone around my hometown knew who watered their crops and our town’s economy depended on those crops.

As I read God’s Word in the book of Job I am remembering what it felt like sitting in my cabin by the lake a couple of weeks ago, listening to it rain and thunderstorm all day, saying ‘wow’ when the thunder clapped very loudly right over us and watching the bright show of lightening cracking across the lake.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;

he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’

and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour”.

So that everyone he has made may know his work,

he stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;

They remain in their dens.

The tempest come out from it’s chamber,

the cold from the driving winds.

The breath of God produces ice,

and broad waters become frozen.

He loads the clouds with moisture;

he scatters his lightening through them.

At his direction they swirl around

over the face of the earth

to do whatever he commands them.” Job 37: 5-12.

God definitely had the attention of everyone around the lake that day. It was impossible to ignore his work.

Do you know the benefits that God has packed into a rainstorm like that?

  • the obvious one is the rainfall – growing the crops and providing grass to feed the animals.
  • rainstorms are natural air-conditioners – cooling the air and the land.
  • lightening provides nitrogen which fertilizes the soil and provides protein for the animals.
  • rainstorms remove pollution in the air, cleaning it.

I may not understand a lot of things God does, but when I feel the rain, hear the thunder and see the lightening, I know that God is providing for us and taking care of us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Hard Truth

I love all the blessings God has showered down on me. I cherish all of the great people God has brought into my life. I appreciate all the awesome things God has given me to enjoy on this earth.

It’s so easy to be happy and praise God when I focus on all of the good things in my life.

But how do I react when something bad happens in my life? The book of Job in the Bible is a great one to study when devastation shakes up our world.

After Satan kills all of Job’s children, Job responds with “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away: may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21 – 22.

Hard, hard truth. All of us at sometime experience ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’ part of this truth. I didn’t know how horrible this could be until my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. God gave me Davey for 34 1/2 precious years and then God took him away.

A tragedy. A huge loss that filled my world with grief and pain. It has been a tsunami that continues to smash dreams I had and crush hopes of what my future with Davey in my life was going to look like.

I don’t like it. I don’t understand it. God and I have had many conversations about it and I have come to one conclusion.

I submit. I submit to God’s will. I submit to his purpose. I will never like it, and I probably will never understand it. So I submit.

God is perfect. He is good, all the time. He wants the best for me. He is working all things out for my good. When I filter all of my circumstances through these truths, God gives me peace and the strength to face a future here on earth without Davey.

The LORD gives and he takes away.

May the name of the LORD be praised.