Really Living

A valley of bones.

Millions of bones.

When God breathed into them – “they came to life and stood up on their feet – a vast army.” Ezekiel 37:10.

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 standing up is weird as well as a little 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 an eternal 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 share the Good News and push back evil.  Each day, I read and study God’s word – getting to know him better and listening as he speaks truth into my life.

Are you looking for purpose? Are you looking for guidance? Are you looking for hope?

God gives me hope.  Not the ‘I wish’ kind of hope.  This hope is cemented into my heart by the promises of God.  I know who is in control and I know he is working everything out for my good.  I know where I’m going when I leave this earth.  I know who wins in the end.

God’s redeeming love has turned my dry bones into something good and useful.  His breath moves in my heart and soul – bringing new life each day.

There are no dry bones here.

What’s the condition of your bones?  Would you like to experience a new breath of God’s spirit in your soul?

Turn to him and ask, he’s waiting for you.

Showers of Blessing

The old hymns bring back great memories for me.

I was raised in a conservative Christian family who were members of a conservative Christian church in the Midwest.  I don’t remember knowing anyone in my little home town who didn’t go to church regularly.

My father was a talented musician who owned and operated a car body repair shop for most of his life.  He had a beautiful, deep baritone voice.  My mother had a nice alto voice and harmonized well.  My youngest brother had a great tenor voice.  Unfortunately, I also sing alto so my family quartet was missing a soprano but there were many good sopranos in our church congregation.  So listening to my family sing the old hymns in church every Sunday morning was a treat – definitely my favorite part of the service.

Those great old hymns reverberated off the walls as my church family sang them with energy and confidence.  And my family contributed a beautiful part of it.

Awesome memories!

My little town also had ‘Hymn Sings’ at the town ballpark during the summer.  We would fill up the bleachers with people from all different churches while the organizers set up microphones and amplifiers on a stage over the pitcher’s mound.  They hauled in an organ (no drums or guitars here) and handed out song sheets.  People would yell out favorites and we would fill the summer sky with praises to God for 2 hours or more.

I would sing harmony with my mom – no music, we sang these same songs in church so often that we had the harmony part memorized.  I realized many years ago that I don’t know the melody of some of the old hymns – just the harmony.  But I know the words by memory and I also have the second and third verses of many of them etched in my brain.

As I now read Ezekiel 34, these great memories come rolling through my head as God says through Ezekiel, “I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” vs 26.

One of the many blessings God has given me is a long family legacy of faith and trust in God which creates beautiful memories like these.

Thank you for your blessings, Abba Father.

How Great!

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.

Great is God’s faithfulness!

One of my special joys in reading through the Bible every year is when I 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.

God tells me as I read Lamentations 3 that he will always be faithful to me.  And, as the sun rises each morning, I am reminded of his promises. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every  morning; great is your faithfulness.”  vs 22-23.

He is never late (even though it can sometimes seem that way to me).  He is never tired.  He is never distracted.

Whenever doubts about God enter my mind, all I have to do is look back and it’s easy to 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!

Incurable

Beyond healing.

No remedy.

None of us want to hear these words.  Yet this is what God says to us through Jeremiah who was talking to the Israelites who were in exile –

“Your wound is incurable.  Your injury is beyond healing.  There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you.” Jeremiah 30: 12 – 13.

There was no hope for them.

I am very glad to say the same is NOT true for us.  Between then and now, Jesus was born, lived a perfect life and then offered himself up as a sacrifice on the cross.  Jesus cured our incurable case of sin and rebellion.  He paid the price for all of our sins for all time.

After Jesus was buried, he rose from the grave through his own power.  And now he sits in heaven next to my Father God.

I have accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation so God no longer sees my sin.  Jesus’ sacrifice covered it.  What does God see when he looks at me?  He sees the daughter he loves with a perfect love.

If you haven’t accepted the free gift of salvation which Jesus offers to everyone, you have an incurable wound of sin which is beyond healing.  There’s no remedy…..

except Jesus.

Accept the salvation offered through Jesus today, be healed and become a child of the King.  There is no better time that right now.

Thank you, Jesus, my Savior and Redeemer.

Branded by the Truth

The truth is etched onto my brain,

it’s written on my heart.

God’s truth has forever changed me.

You and I are the created ones.  God is the Uncreated One.  His old relationship with us was broken by our rebellion and sin.  That’s one of the reasons why the Old Testament is filled with violence and gore.  That’s why there was continual conflict and strife between God and humans in the Old Testament.

Sin was in the middle of everything – messing it up.

But God had an awesome plan to fix this.  He was sending Jesus, his Son, to pay the price of all our sins for all time.  Because of what Jesus did through his death and resurrection, those of us who accept salvation through him can have a personal relationship with God which begins here on earth and extends into eternity.

In Jeremiah, God describes the New Testament relationship that is coming, 

“I will put my instructions deep within them and I will write them on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.” 31:33,

Thank you, Father God, for sending your Son, Jesus, who offers salvation and freedom to everyone. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit deep within my soul when I put my faith in Jesus. I hear the instructions of your Spirit and I feel the love and strength you give me each day. I love your Word which is written on my heart.

I am so glad you challenged me to get serious about memorizing your Word. Now I am branded by your Truth – thank you for making that happen. It still amazes me how my bad memory can remember scripture.

I am so very grateful that you are my God and I am your daughter – forever.  In the redeeming name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Under Attack

I feel it. Do you?

I feel that the values Jesus role-modeled for us as believers are under serious attack in our culture. Loving others, forgiving people, and giving other people grace when they aren’t perfect are all getting lost under mountains of political division and widespread judgement of anybody who says they are a Christ-follower.

Other people can share their opinions and perspectives and the culture is very ‘inclusive’. But when I talk about what I believe to be true and it’s different from what is popular in our culture, a negative label gets slapped one me really fast. I guess the ‘inclusiveness’ doesn’t include me?

Jeremiah’s prayer to God echoes some of my concerns. He is praying this while he was confined within Jerusalem which was itself being confined by the Babylonians as they began to attack the city. “See how the siege ramps are built up to take the city,” Jeremiah prayed. “Because of the sword, famine and plague, the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians who are attacking it.” Jeremiah 32:24.

I see the siege ramps being built up to take away many of the values that have made our country a great “One Nation Under God’. I see the sword of division, a famine of truth and a plague of fear.

As I pray about this, I hear only one response from God, “I am in control”. God highlights Jeremiah 32:27 for me as I read his Word. “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’

No, Father. Nothing is impossible for you.

Your will be done, Abba Father.

He is Looking for You

Our country is going crazy, right?

It’s frustrating.  It makes us angry,

bitter,

and disillusioned.

So – what am I doing about it?  What are you doing about it?

Are we busy just talking about it and shaking our heads?  Are we spouting off negativity to everyone around us and filling Facebook with our rants?

Or are we doing something positive to help turn the trend one small step at a time?

When Israel was going down the tubes thousands of years ago, God told Ezekiel, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30.

God was looking for someone – anyone – who would build a wall against the injustice that was happening.  A wall that would help keep out the lies and violence. God was looking for someone to stand in the gap before him on behalf of the Israelite people.  “But I found no one.”

Is this same thing happening today?  Is it all just talk and emotion? 

Or are you and I figuring out how to do our part in standing in the gap for our country before God?

We can stand in the gap by daily praying to God for our country.

We can stand in the gap by putting our feet and hearts into action while working together with God to help turn our country back into the land which was founded with “In God We Trust”. One step at a time. Each of us can create a small ripple that can grow into a wave when we all get involved.

My family and friends have created the David Glasser Foundation in honor of my son, a Phoenix Police Officer, who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016. It has been evident right from the beginning that God’s hand is on this foundation. The mission of the foundation is to create and sponsor opportunities for kids and their families to have positive interactions with police officers. We believe if the young man who killed my son had had positive interactions with a police officer, he may have made a different decision on that day. We are passionate about creating a ripple as we continue the legacy of love that my son started.

Not everyone can start a foundation but each one of us can be part of a ripple. God has a purpose for all of us – if we’ll stand in the gap.

I’m here, standing in the gap, Abba Father.

Fill it Up!

“The cloud filled the temple and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD.” Ezekiel 10:4.

This was one part of a vision that God gave to Ezekiel and I love visualizing this when I’m in a worship service where something special is happening.  Our pastor always transitions into a simple explanation of the gospel at the end of each of his teachings and then invites anyone who had not yet accepted God’s gift of grace to do it that day.  I love this because I think too many churches assume everyone who is sitting in the pew is a Christ-follower.

During the prayer that always follows my pastor’s invitation, I have gotten into the habit of watching in my mind as the Spirit of God fills the room.  While I visualize this in my head, a huge cloud of grace and love and goodness billows into the room and covers the heads of everyone in the congregation. The glory of the LORD fills the space over God’s people and hangs there – crowding out fears and disbelief and regrets. I can feel the blessings of God pouring out of this cloud.

I know God is always with us all the time but I get goosebumps when I visualized the cloud of God’s spirit billowing in and changing people’s lives – redeeming them from their past mistakes and lighting the way to a better future.

Thank you for filling our lives with your grace and love, Abba.   You are a good, good Father.

My Heart Condition

What’s the condition of my heart?

It it open?

Is it big?

What’s the condition of your heart?

Writing about the size of our hearts reminds me of one of our Glasser Family Christmas traditions.  We watch ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” every year.  The Grinch was very concerned about the size of his heart so he often measured it.  He wanted a small heart so he wouldn’t feel anything or care about anybody else.

What about us?

What is the condition of our hearts?

God talks to me often in his Word about the condition of my heart.   In Ezekiel 11, God  tells me I must –

  • turn away from focusing on what I want,
  • lose my need for control,
  • simplify my life so that I’m never too busy to spend time with God.
  • change my priorities so that I can love him with all my heart, soul and mind.

When I do these things, God promises he will me give me an undivided heart – a heart centered on him and his love and his grace.  He promises he will bring a new wind of his spirit into my life – giving my life purpose and meaning.  He promises to replace my rebellious and self-centered heart with a heart devoted to obeying God.

I’ve been on this Journey Toward the Truth getting to really know God by reading the entire Bible for 11 years and, as the years accumulate, I see God transforming my heart.  He is softening it and opening it up to the things he loves and cares about.  He has brought a new, powerful wind of his spirit into my world, giving my life purpose and meaning.  He has developed a strong desire within me to obey him and submit to his will. My heart has become undivided and centered on God.

What is the condition of your heart?

Please grow our hearts, Abba Father.

There is Danger

On my trip to Israel 8 years ago, we visited a village in Nazareth which is set up to show us what it looked like when Jesus lived there.

nn watching over Nazareth

A watchman was placed on the hill overlooking the village and the land surrounding it.  Their responsibility was to call out warnings or sound a trumpet to tell the people of the village when they saw possible danger approaching.

God explains what a spiritual watchman’s duties are in Ezekiel 33: 17-20.  “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will be saved yourself.”

What does this mean for us today?

We don’t have watchmen……or, do we?

As I read this, God reminds me that I am a watchman for the people he has placed in my sphere of influence.  I know the truth.  And I know the danger of eternal separation from God if a person doesn’t accept salvation through Jesus Christ.  So I must say something. I cannot be silent.

I wish it was as easy as sounding trumpet.  It’s much harder today to warn others of danger coming their way.  Our culture is more independent than that of the Israelites and many people don’t understand that God still holds us accountable for each other.  Those of us who know the truth need to share it with others.  Those of us that know the danger of not accepting God’s free gift of salvation need to talk to the people around us about the Gospel that sets us free – eternally free.

So how do I make sure I’m fulfilling my responsibility as a watchman?  I have found that the easiest way is to share my own experience – stories of what God has done in my life. I bring God into the conversation as often as I can, talking about what he has done for me in the past and what he is doing in my life today. I share how God’s love and grace is the central theme of my life, giving me purpose and peace.

I have a great role model in Jesus who used equal measures of grace and truth.  He didn’t judge people (except for the religious leaders who should have known better).  He didn’t condemn people who didn’t believe he was the Son of God.  He spoke truth with love every chance he got.  He communicated in ways that the people around him could hear.  And understand. 

So they could avoid the danger of being separated from God for eternity.

Thank you, dear Jesus.  Please help me do the same.