It Has Been Decided

As many of you know, our son, David, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.  These last 4 months have been the most difficult and painful time of my life.

One of the ways God has comforted me is through this truth – ” A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5.dave-and-grandma-at-northwestern

God has already decided which day will be the last day of your life here on earth and mine.

Knowing this helped me let go of my mother when she passed away 11 years ago.  We had a very close relationship and she was my role-model for how a Christian woman lives her life faithful to God – all the way to her last breath here on earth.  I realized, if God wanted her in heaven with him, then that’s what I wanted for her.

Ten years ago I found myself in ICU with twelve blood clots in my lungs – a life-threatening situation.  God told me clearly that I wasn’t going to die from that and I didn’t – even though 5 doctors told me the blood clots should have killed me.davey-and-grandma-rolls

It just wasn’t my day.

I know that God has reasons for picking May 19 as Davey’s final day here on earth. I may never understand those reasons but I trust God.   And, since God wants him in heaven, that’s what I want for him.

Knowing that this date was determined before Davey was born helps me avoid needless regrets…like –

  • I wish he hadn’t gone on that call.davey-and-mom
    • It wouldn’t have mattered.  This was his day.
  • I wish he hadn’t gone to work that day.
    • It would have happened no matter what he was doing.
  • I wish he hadn’t been a police officer.
    • He was born to be a police officer and he died honorably, serving his community and doing what he loved to do.  He wouldn’t have wanted to live or die any other way.

It was decided.  There is no ‘wishing’ something else had happened.  God decreed the number of Davey’s days here on earth and then he took Davey home.

Now, standing a foundation of God’s love and strength and grace, the rest of us are left on the earth to figure out how to move forward.  We need to figure out why we’re still here – what is God’s purpose for keeping us here?  And then we need to do it….until the day arrives that is already decided for us.

Meanwhile, through the tears, we focus on loving God and loving each other.

A bigger chunk of my heart is now in heaven with you, Abba Father.

He Is Roaming the Earth

Why is there so much evil in the world?

sept-8-2016-he-is-roaming-the-earthWhy are our families being torn apart?

Why are addictions the plague of our century?

Why are innocent children being abused and killed?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Satan takes the credit for all of this in the first chapter of Job.

He tells God that he just got back from “roaming the earth, going back and forth on it.” (vs 7 )

And Satan leaves a wide path of destruction wherever he goes.

That’s what we’re seeing – the work of Satan.

Satan smiles whenever we lie.

He smiles when we do anything that wrecks a relationship or a marriage.

He smiles when we are impatient.  (Oww!  These all relate to me but this one hits the bullseye).

He smiles when we are self-centered and focus on #1 (ourselves).

Satan smiles when he can do anything to distract us from our relationship with God.  He’ll even bring good things into our lives if they will lure us away from God.

Satan is roaming……

today…..

everyday…..

going back and forth……

back and forth.

We need a full set of your spiritual armor each day, Abba Father.

 

Then There Were Four

It’s a well-known Biblical account.September 4 2016 then there were 4

Three men refused to worship the evil king’s golden idol so the king threw them into a blazing furnace.  The furnace was so hot that it killed the solders who got close enough to throw the men in.

Here’s a detail of the story that I missed until I started reading the entire Bible.   Not sure why I missed it – maybe it was left out of the children’s version of this story 🙂

The king looked into the furnace and saw 4 men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed.

4 men – not 3.

The king called the 4th person an angel.  I’ve heard others say it was Jesus.  Whoever it was, he was sent by God to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in a personal way – they walked in the fire together.

There wasn’t a long magic wand waved in heaven.

The furnace didn’t break when they were thrown it.

The fire didn’t turn to ice.

God had an unimaginable number of ways he could have saved these 3 men.

And he chose to send his rescuer personally into the fire with them.

To walk with them- just like he walks with us when we are in the middle of a fire in our lives.

Our fires can look like failure….

grief……

disease……

disappointment….

betrayal…..

and so much more.

Our God walks in the fire with us – protecting us and guiding us.

We often don’t get right out of the fire.  We end up living in it and walking around in it for awhile.

When we remain faithful in the fire, God uses this time to grow our character, grow our perseverance and grow our faith.

In our lives, God doesn’t always take the fire away – but he gives us peace in the fire.  And he gives us opportunities to share with others what we are learning about God’s faithfulness as we walk together in the fire.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father.

Rebuilt and Replaced

The bright light of restoration regularly weaves itself through the bloodshed and violence of the Old Testament.

God’s restoration…..of us.Sept 2 2016 a new spirit - this one

Ezekiel’s words of condemnation  for idolatry and rebelliousness suddenly morph into a love story (Chapter 36) as God promises to sprinkle water on us to clean us from our impurities.

God promises to give us a new heart and a new spirit.  He promised the Israelites that he would put his spirit in them.   Today, he does that immediately when we accept salvation through Jesus Christ.  God’s Spirit lives in us, helping us to obey when we listen and respond to his directions.

God promises to rebuild the things that are ruined in our lives.  He promises that the desolation of our souls will be replaced by a fruitful, beautiful garden like the Garden of Eden.  The destroyed pieces of our lives will come back alive.sept 2 2016 a new spirit b

Then those around us will know “that I, the LORD, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate.  I, the LORD, have spoken and I will do it.” (vs 36).

The ruined rebuilt.

The desolation replaced.

Does any of this sound good to you?

Thank you for your restoring love and grace, Abba Father.

No Action

We hear the words,

and sing the songs,

and enjoy the beautiful music.

Do we put the message we hear into practice?

Do we just attend church?  Or are we participating in worship?  There is a big difference.

Have our hearts changed and shifted towards God when we leave our worship service?

If not…..why did we go?

God tells us in Ezekiel 33 that he expects us to hear his words and put them into practice. Sept 1 2016 no action

He tells Ezekiel that the Israelites didn’t care about what he had to say to them.  They just showed up to hear Ezekiel because he played his instrument well and he sang love songs with his beautiful voice.

God requires more than that from us.  His Word is designed to transform us into the people he created us to be.  When we open our hearts and actually put his word into action, God’s redeeming power moves in our lives and changes us.

Today is a good day for us to put God’s Word into action.

Please move us closer to you, Abba Father.

Great Faithfulness

We are not consumed by our sadness…

or our problems..

or the chaos in our world.

Because God is always loving and caring for us.

One of my special joys in reading through the Bible every year is when we read words that were used in the old famous hymns.  I was raised in a musical, conservative Christian home so these hymns bring back precious memories.

We read in Lamentations 3 that God promises to be faithful to us.  August 30 2016 Great Faithfulness

And, as the sun rises each morning, I am reminded of his promises.

His compassions never fail – we receive more grace and love every morning.

He is never late ( even though it can sometimes appear that way to us).

He is never tired.

He is never distracted.

Whenever doubts about God enter my mind, all I have to do is look back.

And I see God’s faithfulness to me day after day, year after year.

Even when I wandered, God never left me.

He never stopped loving me and caring for me.

Just like he cares for me today.

And I know I can count on him to love me and care for me all of the rest of the days I walk on this earth…and on into heaven.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father!

A Purse With a Hole in It…

won’t hold anything.

Your money will slip right through.Sept 26 a a purse with holes 2015

And you won’t have any money left in your purse.

Because you didn’t take care of the hole.

God told the Israelites through Haggai that it was time to give ‘careful thought to their ways.’ (vs 1:5 ).

They had planted a lot but had harvested little.  They ate but it was never enough.  They drank but were never full.  They put on clothes but were never warm.

They made money but it slipped through their hands like a purse with a hole in it.

Never enough.

Whenever we look to anything other than a relationship with God to make us happy, it will never be enough.

We will not be content.

We will always be looking for the next thing – maybe that will make us happy?  I call this worshipping the god of More.

God is telling us today that it is time to give careful thought to our ways.

If we are caught in the vicious cycle of worshipping the god of More, now is the time to turn back to the One True God and find true joy.

True peace.

True purpose.

The Israelites needed to be woken up because they had ignored the work God had given them of rebuilding his temple.  They had wandered down the crooked and dark path of focusing on themselves and their own agenda.

But it wasn’t enough.

It was never enough.

Their purse had a hole in it and nothing but turning back to God and obeying him was going to fix that.

Is God giving us a wake up call as we read this?  Have we wandered?  Have we lost the peace and contentment only God can give?

If so, he is waiting for us with open arms.

Today.

It’s time to jump off the merry-go-round of serving the god of More and plan our feet once again on the Rock.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Mysterious Ways

Not one but two pagan Persian rulers decreed that the Temple of God in Jerusalem should be rebuilt.  And the second one also decreed that the Persian government was going to pay for it!  And – amazingly – they also paid for the sacrifices that were going to be made in the temple to celebration its completion!Sept 25 2015 mysterious ways

What was up?

This is hard to believe.

It doesn’t make sense!

It was God.  He was using pagan kings to rebuild his temple.

He is the same today.

He can use anybody anywhere to do his will.  And he does.

They don’t have to be believers and they don’t have to be listening to him.

God is in total control of all creation.  Of all creatures.

He will accomplish his purposes perfectly, using whatever and whoever he wants.

When we are in tune with God, we will see what he’s doing and be able to join him even when his activity shows up in the most unlikely places…in the most unusual circumstances….in the most mysterious ways.

We’re listening and watching, Abba Father.

Daniel’s Prayer, 2015

Lord,

the great and awesome God,Sept 21 2015 Daniels prayer

who keeps all of the promises he has made to those who love him and obey him.

We have sinned.

We have rebelled

and we have not listened to you as you speak to us through your word.

Lord, you are righteous

and this day we are ashamed.

Ashamed of our sin.

You forgive us even when we rebel and refuse to obey.

We have sinned

and we pay the painful consequences of those choices.

But we still don’t turn to you….we don’t listen to your truth.

We don’t follow your guidance.

We don’t obey.

You, our Lord, have shown your faithfulness from generation to generation.

We have not been faithful.

We have made wrong choices over and over and over.

Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servants.

We ask that you forgive us and look upon us with your favor.

We are not asking this because we deserve it – we don’t.

We ask because we know you are a merciful God.

We know you are listening.

And you have promised that you have already forgiven us through the power of Jesus’ death on the cross.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Writing On The Wall

The decisions we make.

What we choose to do.

How we live our lives.

All of these choices cause other things to happen to us.

Consequences.

The decisions we make set off a chain of events – good or bad.

It’s the ‘handwriting on the wall’.

God gave me a strategic – thinking brain which means that my brain connects everything.  I can connect events and decisions backwards to understand how I got where I’m at today.  And I can connect the dots forward to the future based on decisions that I’m making today.  It’s very clear to me where these choices are going to take me.

I can also do this as I watch others make decisions and choices.  It all connects in my brain.  Sometimes it almost feels like I can predict the future because each action leads to the next action and it’s moving in an obvious (to me) direction.

I can see the ‘writing on the wall.”

I enjoy reading again the historical account in Daniel when King Belshazzar  decided to hold a big party and he brought out the gold goblets that had been taken from the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem.  Not a smart move, Belshazzar!

A human hand appeared and wrote something on the wall while the king watched.  His knees were knocking and his legs became weak as he watched the hand move across the wall.

None of the king’s wise men could interpret what the hand had written so Daniel was called into the party.  Daniel had a reputation for being able to interpret dreams when no one else could.

Daniel told the king the words said that, because of the king’s actions and behavior, God had decided to end his reign and his kingdom would be split up.  Belshazzar lacked the humbleness and wisdom that his father had when God put him in his position of being king.  His sacrilegious use of the temple goblets while praising false gods was the last straw.

The king died that night.

It was the writing on the wall.

The king’s actions and behavior had led to this.

Just like our choices and decisions determine our direction.

It all connects.

Please give us wisdom to make decisions that help us go in the right direction, Abba Father.