How Would I Respond?

What would I do if God asked me to build a gigantic boat in my back yard while my neighbors ridiculed me for my foolishness?

Would I willingly bring my entire family onto this boat filled with wild animals and poisonous reptiles?

Would I complain as the rain fell continuously for 40 days with the boat rocking wildly as it was lifted on the water high over the mountains?

How would I feel as the world as I knew it was wiped out below me?  Fearful?  Worried?

It took the waters 150 days to recede.  Five months.  Would I be calm as the boat now rocked down and down and down….to whatever was left below me?  Would I be anxious?  Scared?

After spending over a year on this boat, would I feel ready to face what was coming as the it once again settled on land?  Would I be happy to get off the boat?  Concerned about what I was going to find when the door opened?

I wonder how Noah felt when all of this actually happened to him?

As I read this historical account in chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Genesis in the Bible, all God ultimately tells me is ‘God said, Noah did.’  It’s clear that Noah trusted God through every step of this monumental struggle.   And when he finally got off the boat, the first thing he did was build an altar and make a sacrifice to honor God.

Noah’s faithfulness inspires me.

His perseverance amazes me.

His level of trust in God challenges me.

It’s awesome to know that the God who guided Noah, loved Noah and provided for Noah is the same God who guides me, loves me and provides for me.

God always keeps his promises.

Thank you, Abba Father.

In Control

Do you work really hard to be in control? Be honest with yourself – do you get frustrated or angry when this world throws you a curve ball and things don’t go your way?

This used to describe me. I am a planner and a strategical thinker so my natural tendency is to try to organize the world around me according to my desired outcome.

I wanted control.

I was gradually learning what a waste of time it was to try to control everything around me when I had a defining moment. I learned the hard, painful truth about how much I am NOT in control. My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. Reality slapped me in the face. The only thing I’m in control of is my response to what happens to me.

You might not be ready to hear this, but you are not in control, either.  Trying to control other people or circumstances will use up your time and energy on something that just is not possible. And it won’t work.

Does it surprise you that this issue of wanting to be be in control goes way back to the Garden of Eden?

Satan tempted Eve to eat the apple by saying, “God knows that when you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.  Genesis 3:5.

She ate it.

Yep, like Eve, we still want to be like God.

Let’s just call it. Sin. We are sinning against God when we try to take away some of the total control He has on our world.

We are not like God. We are not in control. And our lives will be much better, much more peaceful, much less anxious and much less stressful when we admit it and realize our total dependence on God.

It’s hard to do this. I still struggle and I’ve had several huge lessons in this area. Whenever I start to feel anxious, I have to remind myself. I’m not in control – God is.

It’s a good thing He is in control. He is all-powerful. He is always good, always right. And He loves me with a perfect love. He loves you with a perfect love.

It’s a good thing I’m not in control because I am none of those things.

I just need to be reminded sometimes.

In the Beginning

So I begin again.  Genesis 1:1.

This will be my 13th consecutive year of reading through the Bible.  I’m anticipating great mornings of hearing God’s voice as he speaks to me through his Word.

It’s also fun knowing that there is a group of around a dozen of you who are reading the Bible every year with me.  After each of us did it the first year, we realized that we couldn’t imagine not doing it every year.  It’s a spiritual discipline that feeds our souls all year long. If you haven’t read the entire Bible before, this would be a great year to start. I read the Daily Bible arranged chronologically by F LaGard Smith.

One of my favorite things about reading the entire Bible is I get a good understanding of God’s overall message on important topics.  Like God’s love – reading the Old Testament and then the New Testament gives me a knowledge of God’s love that I’m not going to get reading a verse here or a chapter there.

I am also hooked on reading the Chronological Bible for several reasons – here are a few:

  • The Old Testament prophets are placed in the story with the king they talked to and in the correct time in history.
  • One of my favorite reasons – the psalms David wrote are placed in his story when he wrote them.  So I read the psalms David wrote while he was hiding from Saul in the cave when David is actually hiding in the cave.
  • The several different and extremely detailed accounts concerning the tabernacle and the temple are combined into one reading on each.  As a result, what I read makes much more sense to me.   All of the laws are combined into one reading instead of repeated in various places.  I used to skip over all of these sections because they were too repetitive and uninteresting.  Now I actually enjoy reading them because I’m only reading them once.
  • The New Testament gospels are combined so it doesn’t feel like I’m reading the same story 4 times.  It’s interesting to see the differences in perspectives.

The Chronological Bible is not good for in-depth Bible study but it’s great for reading and getting the big picture.

Once again, I start reading this first day of 2023…..

knowing God will open my eyes to more truth this year and he will focus my eyes on truth I already know but need to be reminded of.

In the Beginning.

Being ‘Comfortable’ is Not the Goal

As the final Revelation of God’s Word begins, the Spirit is writing to the 7 churches through John.  The message that reverberates through my mind are his words to the church of Laodicea –

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  Rev. 3: 15 – 16.

The Spirit sounds pretty disgusted with this church.  They were rich and they were acting like they had everything they needed.  But the Spirit calls them pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

And then he offers them the truth – “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”  Rev 3: 19-20.

 The Spirit tells the church of Laodicea to repent and reminds them that Jesus is always ready to forgive them and redeem them.

Lukewarm is not a good place to be.  Jesus came to earth to save us and transform us into beacons of light in a lost and broken world.  ‘Okay’ is not what we are called to be.  ‘Comfortable’ is not our goal. The Holy Spirit wants to set a fire burning within each of us as we seek to know and love our Abba Father.   As our love for God grows, he transforms our hearts so we can truly start to love other people like he does.

There is a fire burning in my heart.  It burns hotter the closer I get to God.  This fire keeps me passionate about following Jesus on this journey towards the truth.

What’s the temperature of your heart for God?  Is there anything or anyone you care about more than God?  Are you lukewarm?  Or sold out?  

Turn up the heat, dear Father!

 

Great Love!

Do you feel it?

I do.

I see it in the gorgeous sunrise as God once again declares his faithfulness to me with the start of a new day.  I feel it in my 2 1/2 year-old grandson’s hug.  I see it in the smiles of my friends.  I feel it in the ‘love you’ from my husband of over 41 years.

It’s the great love God has lavished upon me.

God tells me that I am a precious child and he proves that by showing his love for me in a multitude of ways, every day.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.”  1 John 3:1a

It’s very encouraging to realize that the closer I get to God, the more of his love I feel pouring out over me.  As I’ve been consistently memorizing God’s scripture these last 7 years, I also feel his wisdom pouring out from his Word.  More knowledge.  More understanding.

I am his child!  How much more love and wisdom and knowledge and understanding does he have available for me?

There is no limit!

As 2023 quickly approaches, I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for this next year.  New challenges.  More love.

Thank you, Abba Father.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

It’s an awesome mental picture!

A cloud of witnesses is standing at the gates of heaven cheering us on as we run this race of faith with perseverance here on earth.

My parents are in that cloud and so are my grandparents.  They are there with many more of my family who all lived by faith here on earth, passing their love of God on from generation to generation.

That’s what my cloud looks like!  What a blessing!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12: 1 & 2a.

As I read this passage, I can hear the faint cheers from heaven…

encouraging me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Encouraging me to keep focused on running this marathon of faith well here on earth.

Encouraging me to avoid the sin that so easily entangles.  Entangles is such a great description of what sin does in our lives, isn’t it?

God has marked out a race for each one of us.  One step at a time.  Sometimes its baby steps.  And other times we slow down to a crawl.  But it’s very important to keep moving forward.

To persevere.

To keep our relationship God our first priority and let the Holy Spirit transform us.

Our cloud of witnesses is ready to cheer us on as we take our next steps toward a deeper love relationship with God.

I know one of my next steps in 2023 is to continue to memorize scripture.  I have been extremely blessed by how God has used the scripture etched on my heart and mind to guide me, comfort me and love me.  I will also be blogging through the Chronological Bible again in 2023.  This has become such an important part of my life, I can’t imagine not doing it.

What is your next step?  If you want to hear God more clearly, memorizing scripture is a sure way to do that.  God speaks clearly through his Word, whether it is written on a page or engraved on my heart.  Are you going to read through the Chronological Bible with me in 2023?  I know several of you did this year and, without talking to you,  I know you were blessed.  There is no better way of developing a deeper relationship with God than to read and listen and respond to his Word.

So let’s each make a plan of how we’re going grow closer to God in 2023.  We have a great cloud of witnesses watching.  Do you hear the cheers?

Please help us take our next steps closer to you in 2023, Abba Father.

The top 2 are the Chronological Bible I read every year. They are on sale! Here’s you chance to join me💙💙

Just Renting

I don’t own anything.  When I die, nothing is coming with me.

I know – I check the box ‘own’ when I’m asked about my house but I should really be marking ‘rent’ because my house is not coming with me when I leave this earth.

The Apostle Peter says it like it is, “Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” 1Peter 1: 17.

Do you ever feel like a foreigner here?  I certainly do.  

Living in this world is often disappointing and difficult.  It’s confusing and full of conflicts.  The moments of joy seem fleeting compared to the problems that hang on forever.  When I hear people talk about ‘forever homes’ here on earth, I’m really glad to know that my ‘forever home’ is not here – it’s in a much better place.

The hole left in my life by the death of my son will only be filled in heaven.

So I’m good with my foreigner, renting status here on earth.  When my lease is up, I’m going home, where I belong…..forever.

I know you already have a place prepared for me, Abba Father.  Thank you.

Fight the Battle Well

2022 is almost over.  It has been a tough and rewarding year for me.

How would you describe your 2022?

In March of 2022 I started writing my book about watching God put the broken pieces of my life back together after my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty. Losing a child is the most difficult thing I think a parent can experience.  Writing it all down has been an extremely hard and yet cleansing experience.   I have been blogging about it for over 6 years…but writing the whole story is much different. This is the story God has been writing in my life since May 18, 2016; Picking Up the Pieces – the story of one parent’s worst nightmare.  The book is due to be published this March.

Then my husband experienced a life-threatening heart issue at the end of June.  It must not have been the day God has determined would be his last day because the doctors were able to help him and he’s still here.  Again I am reminded how short our lives are and how quickly someone we love can be gone.  The second half of  my 2022 has been scheduled around medical procedures and hospitals visits for him.

Now God is speaking to me about 2023.  He has plans.  Call them resolutions, call them goals, call them my ‘words’ for 2023, it’s obvious that God is using these last several days of 2022 to tell me what he wants me to focus on next year.

So God stopped me as Paul talks to Timothy in his first letter to him – “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience..”  1 Timothy 1: 18 & 19.

How do I fight the battle well 2023?  When I’m connected to God through his Word and through his people, he fights my battles with me – guiding me, encouraging me and giving me victory.

How do you plan to fight the battle well next year?

How do I hold onto the faith in 2023?  I have a hunger that growls in my soul with the desire to grow in my love for and knowledge of God.  I am confident that turning off the TV and putting down my phone so I have more time to read and study God’s Word is the right thing for me to do.  I’m adding another small group Bible study to my calendar this year.  My favorite thing about retirement – other than not having to set an alarm – is having all the time I want to spend with God.

How will you hold onto the faith in 2023?

How do I hold on to a good conscience in 2023?  When I’m in line with God, I know down to the depths of my heart and mind that I’m in the right place.  I feel God’s approval and blessing when I focus on him and what he is calling me to do.

How will you hold onto a good conscience next year?

With God by my side, I’m ready. I’m really excited to see what God is going to do with my book – his story.   So bring on 2023 with all its challenges and opportunities. 

Thank you, Abba Father.

Paul’s Prayer … and Mine

Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3 and I respond –

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name.” vs 14.

You are awesome, Father.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,.. ” vs 16.

Please give us your strength, Father.

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” vs 17.

Make your home in our hearts, Jesus, and teach us how to trust you more.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with the Lord’s holy people to grasp how wide, and long and deep is the love of Christ…” vs 18.

Grow our roots deep in your awesome love, Jesus.

“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.” vs 19

Please help us feel and understand the perfect love you pour out on us each day.  Only you can make us complete, Abba.  The power to live a full life comes from you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,…” vs 20.

We believe, Father, that you can do anything – things beyond what we can imagine –  and that you want to accomplish your plans through us.  We are your hands and feet here on earth.

“to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” vs 20.

Amen.  Love you, Father.

It’s Difficult

It’s not easy to understand and its even harder to accept. The rest of our world doesn’t work like this.  It’s totally counter culture.

You and I have a tough time accepting the fact that when we put our faith in Jesus,  God forgives us for all our rebellion and self-centeredness and attempts to do things our way.  He loves us unconditionally – not because we are good, but because he is good.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift from God – not by works so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2: 8 & 9.

I memorized this verse many years ago and completed several Bible studies about God’s grace until – gradually – the truth sunk into my soul and changed my perspective.  I started to understand God’s grace.  I started to live in God’s grace.  When my heart and mind finally accepted that it was a free gift – nothing I could earn – my relationship with God flipped upside down.  I stopped trying to be good enough and started living in gratitude for everything God has done for me.

I was raised in a Christian family in a small town in Iowa.  There were a lot of rules for Christians in this small town – what we should wear, what we could and couldn’t do on Sundays, how often we should go to church, and the list goes on.  And everybody watched each other very closely.

When I moved away and matured, I realized that this was a fake, man-made way to ‘look like a Christian’.  I now know there is nothing I can do to earn God’s grace – Jesus did it all.  As I learned to love God without rules, he transformed my heart and my thinking which caused many outward changes to my behavior and priorities.  I gradually ‘looked more like a Christian’ because I was growing closer to God – nothing fake about it.

God’s grace was difficult for me at first to understand and accept, but when I ‘got it’, it rocked my world.

Thank you for your grace, Abba Father.