I Am With You

I never have to feel alone.

You never have to feel alone.

When we are Christ-followers, God is with us – all of the time.

Amazing!

My gratitude to Jesus swells up in my heart as I read God’s words to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31.  While Moses was commissioning Joshua to be the new leader of Israel, he told Joshua over and over again that “the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you”,

“He will be with you”,

“He will neither fail you or abandon you.”

Do you need encouragement today?  I know I do.  This has been a very sad and tough time.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was murdered in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Last week another Phoenix Police officer was killed in the line of duty…..and it all comes back.  The shock, the pain, the grief, the hole left by my son’s death – it’s all highlighted again as we bury another police officer.  There are times when I don’t feel strong enough to face the future and figure out how to move forward.

I know God is speaking to me – and to you – today to encourage us just like he encouraged Joshua.

God is with me.

He will personally go ahead of me into the difficult hills and valleys of the journey I am on.

And he will never fail me or abandon me.

Wow – I needed that reminder!

Thank you, Abba Father.

This is the Key

Some people spend their whole lives searching for the key to life.  And many of them never find it.

It’s extremely sad that a growing number of people are choosing suicide as an alternative to living an empty and hopeless life.

And yet the key to having a full and meaningful life is readily available.

It’s soooo awesome that Moses said it thousands of years ago and it’s still the answer today.

“Oh, that you would choose life…  You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him and committing yourself firmly to him.  This is the key to your life.”

This is the key to my life.  I know that.  I have tried filling my life with other stuff as I moved through different phases of my life.  I know the lack of contentment that comes from chasing after material belongings like cars and houses.

I know how it feels to being consumed by meaningless rounds of parties and partying friends, trying to fill the void.

I also know the ache that comes from putting my career first before everything else in my life.  When I achieved success and recognition at work, my reaction was, “Is this all there is?  Why do I feel so empty when my career is going so well?”

All of these worthless, meaningless, empty feelings went away when I committed to put God first in my life.  My experience matches up 100% with the advice Moses gives us – God is the key.

I’m so glad I found the key.

I hope you have, too.

I choose you, Abba Father.

I’ll Never Know

I’ll never know all of the things God has done for me.

I’ll never know all of the ways he has protected me and guided me.

I don’t see it all and I don’t always recognize what he is doing.  Much of what he does is subtle – a whisper here and there in my ear…

I try to stay aware of his movements but the cacophony of the world around me so easily drowns God out.

While preparing the Israelites to enter the Promised Land without him, Moses said, “For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out and your feet didn’t blister or swell.”

Looking back on their last forty years, the Israelites could see how faithful God had been.  Forty years and their clothes didn’t wear out?  What an obvious act of God – and very practical.  As they continued to move across the desert, replacing clothes would have been difficult.  So God took care of their clothes as well as their feet.  A massive crowd of people walked through the dry, hot desert for 40 years and didn’t have problems with their feet?  Only God could do that.

As I read this, I am comforted to know that God is taking care of issues like this in my life as well.   Every once in while, God gives me a glimpse of a potential problem that he has taken care of in my life and it reminds me of how much more he blesses me and watches over me each day.

When I look back, the distractions of today drop away and I can clearly see God’s faithfulness in my life from before I was born.  I can come up with a very long list of  little problems and huge issues that God has handled – caring for me and loving me through it all.

And he hasn’t stopped.

Thank you, Abba Father.

It’s Amazing!

Hard to explain,

but easy to see.

I’m talking about the supernatural power of God.

Moses was forbidden to enter the Promised Land with the Israelites so, before his death, he spoke to all of them to remind them of everything God had already done for them.  (This reminds me of how easily I forget all the things God has already done for me.)

Moses say to his people, “Do not be afraid of the nations there (in the Promised Land), for the LORD your God will fight for you.”

God was fighting for them –

and he is fighting for you and me right now.

Today God has my back.  He is orchestrating good things for me.  He is arranging circumstances to help me move in the right direction.  God is fulfilling his purposes on earth through me – today.

The same can be said of you if you are a Christ-follower.

Right now, God is saying to us,

___________, (fill in the blank with your name) ‘ Do not be afraid of __________(fill in the blank with what keeps you awake at night) for I, the LORD your God am fighting for you.’

Thank you, Father God.

Blow Your Trumpet!

I don’t know how to blow a trumpet….do you?

So what is God trying to say to me as I read ‘blow the trumpets” in Numbers 10?  Thousands of years ago, God was directing the Israelites to blow their trumpets when they went to war to let their enemies know they were coming.

Then God said, “Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too.”

And ‘blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings.”

The Israelites didn’t have God’s Spirit living inside of them like we, as believers, do today.  Blowing their trumpets was a loud, obvious way to acknowledge God’s presence and participation in what they were doing.

I don’t need to blow my trumpet but I do need to acknowledge God’s presence and participation in my life – every day.  I have found the best way to do this is talking with him.  You might call it praying – I consider it more of a conversation because he talks back.

I talk to God about the fears and worries that can fill my head when it’s dark.  Just the other night, my little grand darling, Eden, was staying overnight and she had a cough left over from a cold.  I gave her cough medicine before she went to bed and then woke up at 3 am hearing her coughing again.  After giving her some more medicine, I continue to hear her cough.  Poor baby!  It’s really hard to listen to little ones coughing in the night.  So I talked to God about it, asking him if I should get up with her?  Was there something else I should do?  And he assured me he had it covered.   A short time later the coughing stopped and she slept peacefully until the morning.  And I went back to sleep knowing ‘God’s got this’.  Thank you, Father.

I ask God to join me in the battle when I’m feeling the flaming arrows of the Evil one begin flying at me. (BTW, Satan really hates this blog.)  Please keep me on the path you have prepared for me, Father.

I share my glad times with God who is the Father of Light for all the good things he sends down to me from heaven.  ‘Every good and perfect gift’ is from you, Father. 

I praise God with my offerings of my time, talents and treasure.  You have blessed me with all of them, Father God.  Thank you. 

Many of us have the tradition of asking blessings over our food as we gather together to eat.  I love this moment of gratitude for God’s provision for us as we look at a table full of food.  It’s a great time to acknowledge God in our day – even when we’re in public.  Why not?

It’s time to blow our trumpets!

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Fear

It makes me anxious.

It makes me worry.

It makes me focus on ‘what if?”

My fears usually center around situations that I have no control over.  There is nothing I can do to get rid of these thoughts that fill my mind with dread –

except trust God.

He is in control.  He loves me and wants the best for me.  I believe that with all of my heart and soul.  He has proven it over and over.

When I remember to trust God with all of it, the fear goes away.  Confidence in my Good Father wipes out the anxiety and worry.  I say to myself, “What if I just let God handle this?” and the dread of what could happen disappears.  I know that, no matter what, God is going to walk beside me through it.  He has always been faithful in the past, he will always be faithful in the future.

The spies who Moses sent into the Promised land seriously missed this trusting in God idea.  They were scared – the people living in the Promised land were big and powerful.  Their towns were large with high walls around them.

The spies spread their fear through the rest of the Israelites until they became so scared that God tells us in the Bible that they cried all night.

Caleb and Joshua were two of the spies and their report was much different from the rest.  “Let’s go at once to take the land.  We can surely conquer it.”

What?  The people of Israel were trembling in fear and Caleb is saying they must go ‘at once to take the land’?  How could the response of Caleb and Joshua be the opposite of what the rest of the spies were saying?

The difference was that Caleb and Joshua trusted God.  It was not about the Israelites doing this on their own.  God had promised to give them the land, so God was going to do it.

They trusted God so they were willing to obey him in spite of how the situation looked.

How good am I at trusting God in those kinds of situations?

How trusting are you?  Have you been anxious or fearful lately?

Please help us trust you with all things, Abba Father.  Take away our fears and anxiety.

You Have Heard of It

You may even have felt that you were one –

a scapegoat.

This is where someone who is innocent is punished for something someone else did.  I know I have often heard this term used when a big corporation is sued for something they did and they fire a person with a relatively minor role in the situation who was just doing what their bosses told them to do.  The corporation does this so it looks like they took action to remedy the issue.  This minor player is a scapegoat – taking the blame for everyone else who had a hand in the bad decision.

Did you know that thousands of years ago the Israelites actually had a scapegoat?  God started this ritual in order to temporarily deal with the sins of the Israelites.  He told the head priest to lay both of his hands on the head of a goat and

‘confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion and sins of the people of Israel.  In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat.’

Then the scapegoat was driven into the wilderness, carrying all the people’s sins with it.

Until the next time they sinned.

You can see how temporary this was.  I think God used this process to help make the people aware of all of their sins and to visually show them their sins had to be paid for and taken away.

This is a very clear message about how much you and I need a Savior.  Something had to be done about our sins.  You and I can’t rebel and disobey over and over again while having a personal relationship with a Holy God.  Someone had to paid the price and provide a way for us.

And his name is Jesus.

He is the Way.

And the Way is open for everyone.

Jesus paid the price for our sins – once and for all.  We are saved from the penalty and condemnation of our sin by recognizing our Savior and putting our faith in him.

You and I don’t need a scapegoat anymore.

We are saved through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross – erasing our past, present and future sins from God’s sight.

Thank you, Jesus.

Let Me Know You

Reveal yourself to me, Father.

Open my eyes,  open my ears,

soften my heart towards the things you love.

I join with Moses today and ask, “Let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor.”

My soul longs for understanding, Father.  Renew my mind so it focuses on your truth only.  Transform my thinking so the lies of the Evil one have no power in my life.

Teach my feet to follow in your ways.  Train my hands to reach out to the world that you love, God.

Like Moses, I want to enjoy your favor, Father God.  Guide me so I may live under your umbrella of blessing all my days here on earth.

I trust you with my life – you created me and you know me.  I look forward to that day you have already determined when you will take my hand and guide me home to be with you.

Such a glorious day!

I love you, Abba Father.

There is Light

Look around – do you see the darkness?  Evil lurks.  Hate grows.  Sin is encouraged.  Violence moves closer.

It’s dark.

But God’s people live in the light because God is light.  The presence of God’s Spirit in my soul brings light.

I love the visual picture I get in my mind as I read Exodus 10:21-29.  The LORD made a plague of darkness cover the entire land of Egypt because Pharoah would not let the Israelites leave.  It was so dark that the Egyptians could not move because they could not see their next step.

“But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived.”  Can you see it?  Light shining on the people of God while everywhere around them was pitch black.

That’s our whole world today.  God’s light of love and grace and forgiveness shines down on us – his children – while the rest of our world lives in darkness.   God still loves the rest of our world – that’s why he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins so every one has the opportunity to believe and be saved  That’s why God asks us to share our stories, our “God experiences” with those who are living in darkness – so they can put their faith in Christ and be saved.

Because we are followers of Christ, God shines his light into my life and into yours.

I feel it.  Do you?

If you don’t feel his light, the best answer I know is to get closer to him.  And then closer.  And even more close.  You’ll start to feel it.

If you”re like me and feel God’s light in your life today and every day, please join me in praising and thanking him –

You are an awesome father, God.  Thank you for shining your light into our lives and saving us from the darkness.  We love you!

He is Amused

When we don’t stand our ground,

we give in, and

we go along with the crowd.

Satan watches and he is amused.

He knows our weaknesses.  He and his team figure out the easiest way to entice us to rebel and disobey God.  And, when we give into temptations, Satan smiles.

I see Satan working all through the historical account of the Israelites waiting at the bottom of the mountain when Moses left them to go to the top to speak to God.  The Israelites became impatient with how long Moses was gone (does that sound like you and me?) so they asked Aaron to “make us some gods who can lead us”.

They asked Aaron – who was supposed to be leading the people with Moses.   Aaron – whom God was intending to anoint as head of his holy priesthood.  Aaron – who crumbled immediately to peer pressure and made a golden calf for the people to worship.

Can you visualize the big smile on Satan’s face as he watched all of this go down?

When Moses came back down the mountain, Aaron made the bad situation worse by lying to Moses by saying that he simply threw the gold the people gave him in the fire and ‘out came the calf”.

Read this next sentence which is in the Bible with me: ” Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies.”

The Israelite’s main enemy – and our’s – is Satan.  He whispers half-truths into our ears – things that are just believable enough to get us to rationalize away the lies.  He confuses us as he twists the truth.  One of his biggest and most effective strategies is to distract us – anything to get our focus off of God.  He’ll even use good things to fill up our calendars, preventing us from spending time with God.  He wants us to spend out time and energy on anything that is not our relationship with God.  Even ministry can be used to lure us from God if it keeps us too busy to grow our relationship with him.

And Satan is amused every time this strategy works.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me mad.  It makes me mad when I read how the Israelites gave into Satan’s ploys.  And it really makes me mad when I realize that I am listening to Satan’s lies when he whispers them in my ears.

It makes me mad and I am determined to tell him to “take a hike” next time he tries it.  Out loud – so he can hear it.

He will not be amused.

Please help me close my ears to the lies of Satan, Abba Father.