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.

It Has Been Decided

This is one of my favorite blogs from the first year after Davey was killed. MIss you, Davey. #8144loveyou

My Family Bleeds Blue

Our son, David, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.

These last 8  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…

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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.

Define It

What is your definition of a blessing?

Is it getting something that you want?  Or is it getting something God wants for you?

I figured out quite a few years ago that I want what God wants for me.  I realized that he gives good things – better things than I could dream of.  He gives important things that only come from him which money can’t buy – like peace and love and purpose.

God tells us in Ezekiel 24 that he is planning ‘showers of blessings’ for his sheep, for his people.  I imagine my Abba Father in heaven  looking through his huge warehouses of great stuff  as he plans to bless me saying, “Oh, I’ll give her that – it will help her balance all the priorities in her life.

“And that!  She has no idea how much peace that’s going to bring into her days.

“And – in the middle of all that – I have some very special surprises for her.  Their  names are Micah, Eden and Sydney (my grand darlings) and they will bring her much joy and happiness.”

Thank you so much, Abba Father, for the blessings that you shower down on us.  Please give us what you want us to have because you always know what’s best for us.  We love you.