Encouraged

Comforted.

Nurtured.

Supported.

These are great feelings and are all part of being ‘nourished’.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul tells his young colleague that he will be ‘nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed.”

I feel I am being nourished as I read, study and memorize God’s word.  My soul is being fed.  God is pouring his truth into my mind, transforming my thinking.  God is nurturing me as he opens my eyes to his plans and I see him moving in my life.

God comforts me when the trials of this world try to overwhelm me.  He encourages me when I am disappointed by reality.  He supports me as he opens up my mind to his truth – chasing away the confusion that the Evil one works so hard to create.

Nourished….yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Thank you, Abba Father.

What I Haven’t Done

The things I should have done,

but didn’t,

seem like less than of problem than the things I have done that I shouldn’t have.

Are you with me on this?

Is that because the things I should have done but didn’t are invisible?  It didn’t happen so there is no evidence that I should have done it?  Or maybe the lack of action is much clearer in the rear view mirror than it is in the moment?

James tells us, “Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and not do it.”

God knows everything – even my thoughts.  There are no secrets from him.  When I am prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something or say something and I don’t do it,  God knows.  Sure, his grace kicks in and my sins are covered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, but it’s still wrong.

I need to keep my eyes and ears open to these promptings so I don’t miss the opportunities God give me to partner with him in his plan to redeem the people around me and deepen their faith.  I want to make sure my hands and feet are available for his kingdom purposes.

During this special time of year, I often hear the Spirit whispering in my ear,

“For God so loved the world.”

Please let me be a part of helping the world believe in you, Abba Father, so they will accept your free gift of grace and live in your love.

Paul’s Prayer….and Mine

Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3,

“I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

You are awesome, Father.

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.”

Please give us your strength, Father.

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.”

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

“Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”

Grow our roots, Father and keep us strong.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.”

Please give us the power to feel the perfect love you pour out on us each day, Jesus.

“Then you will be made complete with all of the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Only you can make us complete, Abba.  The power to live a full life comes from you.

“Now all glory to God , who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

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 on earth.

“Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

Amen.  Love you, Father.

I Am His Witness

Sharing the Truth.

Encouraging you to join me on this journey of growing closer to God each year.

Being faithful to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

That’s what this blog is all about.  So I related to Paul in Acts 20 when he says, “I declare today that I have been faithful.  If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.”

Basically, Paul is bluntly saying, “If you go to hell, don’t blame me.”

I am a witness to the power and love of God.  I have personally experienced God’s forgiveness and comfort.  I see him moving in my life – working all things out for my good.  I hear his voice in my head and his truth is my compass for living.

I trust God – he always keeps his promises.  And one of his promises is that, by accepting the salvation Jesus offers to everyone, I am made acceptable in God’s eyes and I am given a forever home with him in heaven.

There is nothing I can do to get into heaven without Jesus as my Savior.  I cannot give enough, be kind enough, go to church enough or serve enough to earn my ticket into heaven.  Jesus is the Only Way.

And those of us who have accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus have an obligation to tell others.  We are his witnesses.  We have had a personal encounter with the Creator of the Universe and we need to share our story.  We don’t have all the answers to all the mysteries in the Bible but we know what God has done in our lives.  That’s our story and we’re the experts on our story.

So we need to tell it.

Please give us opportunities to share our stories, Abba Father, so we can be faithful witnesses for you.

Knocked Down

It’s nothing new –

the troubles I have,

the trials you have.

Paul talks to us about how to respond to these storms in our lives in 2 Corinthians –

“We are pressed on every side by troubles but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down but we are not destroyed.”

How can I not be crushed and destroyed by the trials and tragedies in my life?  I can persevere because the Spirit of God lives in me, giving me strength, peace and hope.  The Spirit reminds me that this earth is not my home – my forever home is with my loving Father.

This is how the Spirit translates these words in my head as I read them –
I  may have troubles coming at me from all directions but, when I stay close to God, he will not let me be crushed by them.  I don’t always understand why struggles and problems happen to me but I know God is in control and he is a Good Father so I can stand firm on these truths.  Even when Satan hunts me down, God never leaves my side.  I’ve been knocked down by a horrible tragedy but God has given me the strength to get back up.

I say this knowing there are more storms are coming my way.  It’s not a question of ‘if’, the question is ‘when’.

Thank you, Father, for teaching me how to respond.

Transformation

Changing me.

Growing me.

That’s what God is doing.

Paul tells us in Romans 12, “Don’t copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

God is in the process of gradually transforming me from the inside out by changing the way I think.  As I continue to read, study and memorize God’s word, his truth takes over more and more of my brain.  His Word is becoming the basis of where my thoughts come from.

I’ve had people ask me how I can be so bold in talking and writing about my faith all the time.  It doesn’t seem bold to me – it’s how I think.

Paul also says to us, ” Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Love this!

It’s like tuning in an old radio – as I dial into the signal, God’s voice becomes clearer and more distinct.  God is aligning my thoughts more closely to his.  One of my favorite prayers is asking God to help me love the things he loves and hate the things he hates.

When my thinking is lines up with God’s, he can reveal his plans and purposes – his perfect will.

I’m still a work in progress – the transformation is ongoing.  But the mystery of how to clearly hear God’s voice is solved –

get close to him.

Love you, Abba Father.

Abba, Father

I am adopted.

God is my father.

I have known this all of my life because my earthly parents raised me in a Christian home.  But this means more to me now than it ever has because both of my biological parents have gone home to heaven.  My earthly father went to heaven when I was only 21 years old and my mother went home 15 years ago.

I remember flying home from my mother’s funeral feeling like I was a 47 year-old orphan.  I was very close to my mother and it felt like my anchor had been let loose.  I was drifting.

Until I remembered that my Father God had not left me behind.  He had been my heavenly Father my whole life and then he also became my earthly Father when I was 21 and now he became my only parent on earth.  He is and always will be my anchor.

That’s how I feel about him.  He is here, guiding me and loving me.  My perfect parent.

Paul says to us in Romans 8, “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father’. For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”

Amen!  I hear God telling me I am his child and I feel his arms wrapping around me in confirmation.  His Spirit joins with mine in the depths of my soul, confirming that I am his daughter for eternity.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Disappointed

Extremely disappointed.

In the past, that was how I often felt when I observed the behaviors of some people who call themselves Christians.  Disappointed.  It was hard not to question what ‘having faith’ meant when Christians were gossiping, using profanity, lying and basically not looking any different than the unbelieving world around us.

Where’s the transformation?

Where is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is alive inside of us?

The fact that I wasn’t impressed by many Christian’s behavior kept me from seriously working on my relationship with Christ.  What’s the use?

I was stuck in that thinking for a while until my husband gave me a word of truth that entirely flipped my perspective.  He said, “Judy, you need to get your eyes off of people and focus on Jesus.”

Bam!  He was so right!  I was being stalled in growing in my faith by looking at the faults of people instead of using Jesus’ role-model as my guide.

Paul reminds us in Romans 3 that God is always faithful.  “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.”

After refocusing, I no longer have Christians up on a pedestal.  My expectations of the behavior of Christians has become more reasonable – we are all people who need God’s grace living in a broken world.  Yes, even pastors and leaders in the church are in need of God’s grace.

One of the reasons God sent Jesus to earth was to give us a real live example of how we should live.  I have started focusing on Jesus and his behavior, not people.  Jesus is perfect, people definitely aren’t.  Other Christians will disappoint me, hurt me and they might say and do things that are not helpful or even true.

Since I’ve gotten my eyes set on Jesus, I know my response to these disappointing behaviors needs to be grace, love and forgiveness.  Christians are also called to hold each other accountable – with love and truth.   That’s what Jesus did as he constantly had to deal with the ‘humanness’ of his disciples.

Jesus is my role-model.  He perfectly balanced love and truth.  He is forever faithful and trustworthy.

He never disappoints.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Made Right

Do you feel it?

Paul tells us in Romans, “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.”

Through my faith in Jesus, I am ‘made right’ in God’s eyes.  I have been adopted as God’s daughter and given a free ride into heaven by his grace –

not because of anything I’ve done, in spite of the things I have done.

I know, it’s hard to really accept God’s grace.  It feels like I should be trying to be ‘good enough’ to earn it.  All of the religions of the world except Christianity instruct their followers on how to earn a ticket to heaven.

But I know it’s impossible for me to earn it.  I can’t be ‘good enough’ on my own.

So Jesus paid the price for me.

And I live my life in gratitude to my Father God for making the Way possible for me.  Anything good that I do comes from being thankful for what Jesus did for me.  I want to please my Father God and shine his light of love on others whenever possible.

As the sun rises each morning, I feel God’s love and acceptance as he wraps his arms around me when, with my Bible open on my lap, God and I get together for our ‘morning talks.’  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have been ‘made right’ by Jesus.

Do you feel it?

Thank you, Abba Father.

My World Shook

My world turn upside down and inside out when my son, David Glasser, was killed in the line of duty.

The sun didn’t shine as brightly after he was killed and the nights were much darker.  The emptiness was consuming, the loss overwhelming.

Yes, my world shook to its core.

Paul writes to the Thessalonians that he is sending Timothy to them to ‘strengthen you, to encourage you in you faith and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through.”

I can relate.

The only thing that didn’t shake when Davey was killed was my faith.  God kept me solidly planted beside him as the rest of my life quaked around me.  God held me secure as everything flipped and crumbled and blew up.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Paul goes on to say, “But you know that we are destined for such troubles.”

I hear you, God.  I’m not done with having troubles as long as I live on this broken planet.  There will be more.

There are more.

And I have learned that the only response to ‘troubles’ that works is to trust and obey.  God has a purpose and a plan.  God is in control and nothing is impossible for him.  He loves me and wants the best for me.  These are facts that don’t change because of my circumstances.  It’s the truth even when I don’t understand it.

Amen.  So be it.