How Can I?

The world is crazy.  Bad things just keep happening.  I’m disappointed so often.  I’ve lost so many people I love – one person in particular who should still be here.

God tells us through James to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ James 1: 2 & 3.

How I can I consider it all joy?  But I’m not happy about any of it.

Ok, I know that happiness is not the same as joy.  Happiness depends on my circumstances and joy comes from the condition of my soul.  But persevering is a hard thing to do.  It’s easier to give up when the going gets tough – get frustrated, get angry, get bitter.  Our culture teaches us to choose the ‘easy’ way, the fast way, the immediate gratification way.

God says to you and to me today that these choices don’t lead to maturity and completeness.

As I look back on my ‘trials of many kinds’, I can see God working through each of them.  He guided me, he comforted me and, probably most directly affecting my faith, he taught me many things about myself and about him.

One of the major lessons he gave me was the need for me to trust him in all of it.  That was difficult to do when my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police officer was killed in the line of duty 4 1/2 years ago.  As I leaned on God through this tragedy, I gradually learned to filter everything through these facts I know are true about God:

God is good, all the time.

God loves me with a perfect love and nothing is impossible for him.

God wants the best for me and he is working all things out for my good.

I have persevered through this tragedy, standing on these truths about God with a huge hole in my life and a heart broken into a million pieces.  Somehow this is the best for me.  Somehow God is working this all out for good for me.  I have learned a lot about trusting God on a whole new level – even when it doesn’t make sense.

God has been seriously working on maturing my faith.  Trusting him with all of this has deepened my love for him and helped me have a better understanding of how dependent I am on him.  I’ve been changed.  My eyes are refocused on God and my ‘forever home’ with him.

Trusting God, I have decided to persevere and grow my faith through my trials with him by my side.  He knows what’s best.

I trust you, Abba Father.

He is Faithful

Do you have days where it feels like there are problems and challenges coming at you from all sides?

I do.March 31 2015 he is faithful

Issues come up at work.

Difficulties arise in my personal life.

These are also the times where I get a tooth ache or a cold.

Or I get a flat tire on my car.

And the washing machine stops working.

And the dog starts having a weird cough.

I know you’ve been there, too.

One of the blessings of being adopted by God as his child is knowing that we can reach out to God in the middle of all of this mess and he will give us peace.

He will give us strength.

We know from etchingJames 1 onto our minds that, when we persevere under trials by asking God for wisdom, he will always give us in a generous amount and we grow and mature.  We become complete.

God is always faithful.  David knew this.  We read in 1 Samuel that God had rescued David from the paw of a lion and the paw of a bear so David was confident that God would give him victory over Goliath.

What are the Goliaths that we’re facing today?

Dear Father, we ask for the bold confidence David had as we face our own Goliaths.  We know you are faithful.  You have always taken care of us in the past.  You will always love and care for us in the future.  Please help us live each day with that confidence – with that attitude – knowing you are helping us fight our lions, our bears and our Goliaths.  We love you, dear Father.  In the awesome name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Sword Fighting Class – Fighting through the tough stuff

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Do you have that part memorized?  Our journey to memorize James 1 continues and we’re adding verse 4 this week: James 1

‘Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’

Mature.

Complete.

What awesome words!  Who doesn’t want to be mature and complete?

God is telling us that we get mature and complete by persevering with joy through our trials.

Persevering – a hard thing to do.

We like to give up when the going gets tough.

Our culture teaches us to choose the ‘easy’ way, the fast way, the immediate gratification way.

God says that those choices don’t lead to maturity and completeness.

We must choose the harder way of persevering, seeking God and growing in his wisdom through our trials.

Please help us persevere, dear Father.

Let’s Party!!

The Israelites were very good at celebrating.  They partied when they wanted to remember things, they partied when they wanted to forget other things and every accomplishment was worthy of a celebration.Sept 23 2014 Let's Party

In Ezra 3, we read of them getting out their trumpets and shouting their praise to the Lord as they finished the foundation of the new Temple of God.

Sunday morning worship often feels like a celebration to me.  It sometimes can feel like quite a big accomplishment to get through another week of pushing back against the darkness and lies of our culture.  Spending time with my church family reminds me that there are other people who also love God and other people on this journey of faith with me.  I’m not alone.

Living a life faithful to God yet in the trenches of our society can feel like a never-ending battle.  What a privilege it is for us, as believers of God, to gather together.  We get out our trumpets, guitars and pianos so we can sing and shout praises to our God.

We celebrate the fact that God has already won the war!

And he will give us victory each day as we ask, listen and obey.

Thank you, dear Father!

Lay it Down

When our burden is heavy, we need to lay it down in front of God – just like Hezekiah did with his letter in 2 Kings.July 10 2014 Lay it down

This letter was filled with very real threats of impending destruction for Hezekiah and his people.

So Hezekiah spread it out before God and talked to God about it.

How wise!  The battle that was coming was way too large for Hezekiah to fight on his own.

He didn’t panic.

He didn’t get all wrapped up in his own worries and anxiety.

He didn’t do any of those things.

He prayed.

And God answered.

That night the angel of the Lord went to the camp of Hezekiah’s enemies and annihilated all of the Assyrian fighting men and officers.

When the Assyrian king realized what had happened, he withdrew in disgrace.  He never touched Jerusalem.

God can and will do the same thing for us.

We just need to lay our burdens down at the feet of our Omnipotent and Loving Father.

Thank you, dear God.

Sound the Trumpet!

‘When you go into battle, sound the trumpets.  Then the Lord will rescue you from your enemies.’
Feb 7 2014

The Israelite’s journey was just beginning.  They had their laws, they were numbered and their duties were assigned.  The Tabernacle was assembled and was ready to be taken down and reassembled whenever God directed.

The Promised Land was ahead of them but it was already occupied.  There were many battles to be fought.

We are also on a journey.  Our destination is not in sight – but we know where we’re going.

Between here and there, we will fight many battles.  And God reminds us in Numbers 10 to sound our trumpets so he will come fight our enemy with us.  The big difference for us is that we have the Spirit of God living inside of us so our cry for help doesn’t need to be a loud trumpet blast.  It can be a quietly whispered prayer – our Father God hears them all.

AND he comes to help us fight.  He comes to our rescue.

Thank you, dear God.

When Am I Really Going to Get It?

The battle is not mine, it is God’s.

Thousands of years ago, Jahaziel stood in front of all of the people of Judah and told them, ” You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.

It’s just as true today as it was back in the time of 2 Chronicles.June 6 2013

I just need to take up my position, stand firm and watch God fight my battles.

My correct position is to put myself where he wants me.  He leads, I follow.

I stand firm by staying focused on the purpose he as given me and keeping my daily relationship with him strong.

And then he delivers me.

He’s done it before, he will do it again.

And again.

And again.

So why do I sometimes have doubts that haunt me in the darkest part of the night?  Why do I start focusing on my plans and purposes only to become frustrated and confused?

Why do I draw up battle plans and go full steam ahead just to be defeated once again?

I have the Lord of all of the Armies on my side ready to fight my battles for me.

When am I really, really going to get that?

Thank you, dear Father.  I face all of my tomorrows knowing that you are with me and you are for me. 

The Battle Rages On

We all have them – issues that we battle over and over in our lives.

The same  problem rears its ugly head again and again.  It may start out looking like it’s something different this time but it’s really not.  The core of it is that same old problem.April 10 2 sam

In 2 Samuel 21, the Israelites had the Philistines that they were battling with over and over.  And over and over.

We have our own Philistines, don’t we.  These are areas of our lives where we just aren’t winning the battle.  We can’t seem to conquer this issue.

I thought it was really interesting to hear about the Israelites battling a huge Philistine in Gath who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.

Some of the things we battle can also feel like they have extra fingers.  They reach out these extra fingers to mess with other aspects of our lives creating more consequences and more issues.

God promises that he can give us victory in these battles.  Nothing is beyond the power of God.  Our role in this is to trust him and let him fight the battle for us as we obey him.  It’s tough to do but that’s what it’s going to take to find the victory that we’re looking for.

We forget.  We try to win the battle ourselves.  And we fail.  As long as we turn to God when we fail, we’ll keep moving closer to One who has the power to win these battles for us.  One step at a time.

Dear Father, please keep drawing us nearer to you.  We trust you to bring us victory over our personal Philistines.