I Have a Limp

Why is life so hard?  Why do bad things happen to me?  Why have I been bombarded by tough stuff?

I have wrestled with God often about the death of my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police officer, who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  That’s the day my world exploded…….and then crumbled.  I had so many questions.  So much grief.  So many tears.

I did a lot of talking and questioning and struggling with God as my mind and heart gradually came to terms with the huge hole in my life.

I don’t think this wrestling is unusual.  In fact, as I read in Genesis 32 of God’s Word about Jacob wrestling with God over 4000 years ago, I can relate.  They  physically wrestled all night.  God and I have gone many mental rounds over these last 4 1/2 years.

Have you ever wrestled with God in your mind all night?   Thoughts swirling.  Stuck in frustration.  Questions flying around.  Emotions rolling.  Tears flowing.

When the sun rose for Jacob in the morning, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel ‘because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  Genesis 32:28b.

Then God blessed Israel (Jacob).  God also wrenched Israel’s hip out of its socket while they were wrestling and Israel limped the rest of his life – evidence of his successful wrestling with God.

Like Israel, God has blessed me and given me answers and understanding as a result of our wrestling matches.  I have learned more about how much he loves me these last 4 1/2 years than I knew all of my earlier years on this planet.  I have rebuilt my life on the facts that God is good, he is always right, nothing is impossible for him and he is working everything out for my good.  I have learned to filter everything that happens to me in this world through these facts.  This has totally changed my perspective and significantly increased my level of trust in him.

God has also changed one of the names I go by – now I am a ‘Survivor’.  I  have evidence in my life that I have successfully wrestled with God.  With God walking beside me, I have overcome my questions and frustrations.  He has given me a ‘limp’.

God has helped me experience his love and faithfulness in the deepest part of my soul.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Lies and Trickery

Saying things that aren’t true in order to get what we want.

Changing the facts a little to avoid dealing with the consequences for choices we have made.

Making a situation look and sound like something it’s not in order to get our way.

Lies and trickery.  This all sounds pretty bad when it’s listed out like this.  None of us really do any of this – do we?  Are we tempted?

I have a strategic mind which means all of the dots in my life connect.  I can see how each choice and decision connect to each other and where they are going to take me.  I can see how I got here and I can tell you where the dots are going.  It’s almost like being able to tell the future.

I am aware that not everyone’s brain works like this and, if I wanted to, I could use this to manipulate others into doing what I want them to do.  Trickery. Deception.  I don’t want to be a manipulator so I’ve worked hard at not using this strength to ‘trick’ anyone.

I don’t want people around me to feel like they’ve been manipulated into doing what I want.

When I read Abraham and Sarah’s story in Genesis, I definitely don’t want to leave a legacy of deception and trickery to my family and friends like they did.  Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife.  Sarah manipulated Abraham into having a son with her servant and then she decided both of them needed to leave.  Their children and grandchildren continued this tradition of trickery as they lied to and tricked each other over hundreds of years for personal gain.

As we read through Genesis, we’re able to see all the pain and separation and distrust and suspicion that this legacy caused …….. from generation to generation.

I don’t want that in my family and relationships.  So I choose to be honest and truthful – even when it’s hard.

What about you?

Please help me avoid dishonesty and deception, Abba Father.

Tunnel Vision

I’ve had it.  Have you?

I think it happens to all of us at times – especially when our emotions are running high.  When I see only what I want to see.  I notice only what I’m expecting, not what is actually happening.  When my perception clouds the facts, I can go down a path of thinking that is not right, it is not helpful, and it is not true.

If I don’t realize what I’m doing when I’m in a tunnel, I can go to a dangerous place which creates havoc in my life.

So I can relate with Hagar as I read her story in Genesis.  Abraham banished her and their son, Ismael, out into the desert with food and a container of water.  Because she was focused on this one container of water, she felt that all hope was gone when it was empty.

She prepared to die.

She forgot all about reaching out to the Creator of all Things – who created water.  His angel had spoken to her and guided her before but Hagar was in the tunnel – not seeing for any way out except for death.

God heard Ishmael’s cries.  “Then God opened Hagar’s eyes and she saw a well full of water.”  Genesis 21:19.

What?  Was the well there all along and she just wasn’t seeing it?  Was she so lost in despair and discouragement that she didn’t even look around?  Or did God create the well for her?

We don’t know – either way, God provided for her.

And he provides for me constantly.  I need to remember that because, like Hagar, there are situations where I get tunnel vision, especially when emotions are involved.  Especially when something looks big and bad. When I’m lost in my incorrect thinking, I need to remember to reach out to the One who has all the answers.

Please open my eyes, Abba Father.

Branded

Yes, the truth is that Jesus is the only way to get to Heaven.  But he is standing with his arms wide open to everyone.  His gift of grace is available to all, no exceptions.

The Old Testament is mainly focused on the history of God’s chosen people – the Israelites who became the Jews.  Yet, even in the beginning of the Old Testament, we see evidence of God’s ultimate plan to offer salvation to everyone.  God directs Abraham to circumcise all males in his household, “including those born in your household and bought with your money.” (slaves). “It will be a sign of the covenant between me and you.” God explained. Genesis 17:13

God’s promise to Abraham was that he would bless him and ‘greatly increase your numbers.’   God promised to make Abraham fruitful.  God promised that he would have a unique relationship with Abraham and all of Abraham’s descendants for the generations to come.

This circumcision sign was not limited to Abraham’s blood relatives.  I can imagine that Abraham had male slaves of all sizes and shapes and colors and God clearly indicated that they all had a part in his promise.

They didn’t know but God knew that he was sending his son, Jesus, to save all people who would put their faith in him.  And those people would become Abraham’s children by faith – Children of the Promise.  I’m one of those people and so are you if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior.

On a related note – some women get all itchy about ‘men’ being specifically talked to in the Bible.  I’m a female but I’m clear about how God feels about me and I know God is speaking to me, even when the Bible says ‘men’.  I usually substitute ‘mankind’ in my head.  It’s also clear in the New Testament how Jesus respects and appreciates and loves the women in his life.  There’s nothing to get itchy about.

On the subject of circumcision which seems like a totally male thing, God tells us through the Paul in the second chapter of Romans that what God is looking for is an internal circumcision of the spiritual heart of the person who believes.  This circumcision of the heart means we are cut out from the world to love and serve the One True God.

All believers – male and female.

Branded by a heart sold out to God.

Thank you for your gift of grace which is offered to everyone, Abba Father.

 

 

He Keeps His Promises

You and I are witnesses to this sign telling us that God is still keeping the promise he made over 4000 years ag0.

God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all the living creatures of every kind.  Never again with the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  Genesis 9: 12 – 16.

Thank you for being trustworthy, Abba Father.

What Would I Do?

How would I respond 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.  5 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 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? 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 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.

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 which was a sin 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.

You will be like God.  

Let’s face it.  When you and I are trying to make everything around us work out the way we want it to, we are trying to be like God.

That’s God’s job, not our’s.  He is all-knowing and all-powerful and perfect.  We are not.  Far from it.  We prove it over and over as we mess up our lives by trying to make everything happen like we want.

I have stopped trying to be in control.  I’m done.  It’s all a facade’ anyway.  I know who really is in control and I claim my dependence on him.   My life is in God’s hands.   It’s a great place to be – filled with strength and love and peace.

Thank you, Abba Father.

In the Beginning…..

A new page is turned.

New possibilities have opened up.

What’s going to happen?  I don’t know.

For some reason, many of us say that we don’t like change.  But then we generally like new beginnings.  When we make choices that cause our lives to change and we can call it a ‘new beginning’, we’re ok with it?  But we don’t like change?

Yes, we are strange and wonderful creatures.  And I am one of the strange and wonderful creatures who likes change.

Change is good.

I was taught to like change through my over 34 years of working for corporate Jack in the Box.  We were constantly moving and adjusting and changing.  If I didn’t like a specific change, I didn’t have to wait too long for it to change again.  As long as my strategic brain could see us improving – hitting goals and moving forward – I liked it.

This has really helped me keep up with our electronic age where things change so quickly and so often.  I have a goal to stay current on technology.  I don’t have to be at the cutting edge but I plan to stay in the middle somewhere, not behind.

One of the things I love about God is – he doesn’t change.

“In the beginning, God….”(Genesis 1:1)in-the-beginning-genesis

He was here before the beginning and he will be here after the end.

He has promised – it’s a fact.

In our crazy world of unknowns, God wants to be known by you and by me. He gives us his Word.  He gives us his Spirit.  He gives us a spiritual family.

He wants us to know him and he guides us towards himself as we read, listen and respond.

I am extremely interested in discovering the new possibilities God is going to bring my way in 2021.  As I start reading through the Bible again for the 9th year in a row, I am confident that God has new things to teach me and he also wants to highlight other truths that I need to be reminded of.

You are invited to take the journey with me and read the entire Daily Chronological Bible this year.  I guarantee that God will move in your life in a big way as he honors your commitment to know him and hear him better in 2021.

So, with anticipation and confidence that God has important things to teach me this year, I start again –

In the Beginning, God…..

Thank you for new beginnings, 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 throw off everything that hinders me from running this marathon of faith strong and sure 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 focused on Jesus 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 2020 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 2021.  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 has changed my life.  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 2021?  I know several of you did this year and 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 2021.  We have a great cloud of witnesses watching.  Do you hear the cheers?

Please help us take our next steps closer to you in 2021, Abba 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 year-old granddaughter’s hug.  I see it in the smiles of my friends.  I feel it in the ‘love you’ from my husband of almost 40 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 love of his love I feel pouring out over me.  As I’ve been consistently memorizing God’s scripture these last 5 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 2020 comes to an end, God is revealing his goals for me in the new year.  Yesterday he started the list with fight the battle well,  hold onto the faith, hold onto a good conscience.  Today he stopped me with, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  1 John 4:11.

Love other people.  In my experience, the only way I can genuinely love people is to get close to God and let his love flow through me to others.   As I open up my heart to God, he fills it with so much love that it spills over into the lives of people around me.  It’s all about God, not about me.

I’m looking forward to the opportunities God is going to give me in 2021 to love others with the love God gives me.

Thank you, Abba Father.