The Hard Truth

I love all the blessings God has showered down on me. I cherish all of the great people God has brought into my life. I appreciate all the awesome things God has given me to enjoy on this earth.

It’s so easy to be happy and praise God when I focus on all of the good things in my life.

But how do I react when something bad happens in my life? The book of Job in the Bible is a great one to study when devastation shakes up our world.

After Satan kills all of Job’s children, Job responds with “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away: may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21 – 22.

Hard, hard truth. All of us at sometime experience ‘the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away’ part of this truth. I didn’t know how horrible this could be until my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. God gave me Davey for 34 1/2 precious years and then God took him away.

A tragedy. A huge loss that filled my world with grief and pain. It has been a tsunami that continues to smash dreams I had and crush hopes of what my future with Davey in my life was going to look like.

I don’t like it. I don’t understand it. God and I have had many conversations about it and I have come to one conclusion.

I submit. I submit to God’s will. I submit to his purpose. I will never like it, and I probably will never understand it. So I submit.

God is perfect. He is good, all the time. He wants the best for me. He is working all things out for my good. When I filter all of my circumstances through these truths, God gives me peace and the strength to face a future here on earth without Davey.

The LORD gives and he takes away.

May the name of the LORD be praised.

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.

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.

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.

After, Not Before

How often do I decide to make a positive change in my life and then I don’t follow-through?  I change my mind.  It gets too hard.

How often does this happen? More often than I like. 

What about you?

How often are we convicted by the Holy Spirit to make an adjustment in order to better line our lives up with God’s will?  And, after we try, we give up.  When it gets tough, we go back to our old habits.

We are very fickle.  When it gets hard, we opt out of the difficult changes that are needed and decide to go back to being comfortable.

In Jeremiah 34, we read about the Israelites doing this same thing.  The Law of Moses had restricted how long Hebrews could be slaves.  When Jeremiah pointed out that fact that the Israelites had not been following this law, they realized what they were doing was wrong so they let their slaves go free…

for a short time.

“But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.” (vs 11)

God doesn’t tell us the details of why the Israelites changed their minds – but we can read between the lines, can’t we?

Life got hard.  The Israelites had to get their own water and cook their own food.  They had to clean and do all of the dirty work the slaves had been doing.

Obeying the law was just too difficult so they decided to disobey and go back to the comfortable life they had before they were convicted of their sin.

And they missed the blessings that come after we obey.

God blesses obedience.  He has blessings lined up, waiting for us……if we’ll do the tough part of obeying.

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When I do the things that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do, I feel the satisfaction that comes with partnering with God in his plan.  I feel the contentment and satisfaction of living my life in line with God.  I also experience the wonder of God’s supernatural love and strength and peace.  These are blessings from God.

The blessings that only come after I obey.

Thank you, Abba Father.

I am ‘Becoming’

I am ‘becoming’ something.

We are all on the path to ‘somewhere’. I decide what I am becoming and where I’m going by my choices each day. I am going one way or another – I’m not standing still.  If I’m not doing anything new – not growing – then I am moving backward as the world moves forward around me.

When I put my life in my Father God’s hands, he is able to mold me into the person he created me to be.

When you put your life in our Father’s hands, he is able to mold you, too, into the person he created you to be.

Isaiah is very clear about this, ” Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are the work of your hand.” 64: 8.

Potter-at-Work1

When I let God change me and transform me, my life becomes a beautiful work of his hands.

I have watched God work in my life for many years – gradually changing my thinking and perspective so it more closely lines up with his.  I have been reading the entire Bible each year for the last 11 years and I continue to reap the rewards of committing this time and effort to my relationship with God.  The better I know his Word, the easier it is to hear God and let him mold me.  I look forward to many more years of God continuing to refine me – I am confident that his goal is to create a unique masterpiece of my life that brings glory to him.

My life – created by God.

Your life – created by God.

Will we be molded  and shaped by the Master’s hands?

Our choice.

I choose you, Abba Father.

Growing My Roots

“They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,

a planting of the Lord,

a display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 3.

I want to be an Oak of Righteousness.  A planting of the Lord.

May my life display even a tiny portion of his splendor!

God points out to us in Isaiah 61 what it means to be an Oak of Righteousness.  As I read the beginning of this chapter, it relates directly to our culture today.

Today, God’s Oaks of Righteousness are leading the way in their own spheres of influence in helping to reverse the tide of moral decay of our culture. They are working to strengthen our families and are sharing the love and truth of God to the people around them. They are so dedicated to God’s work that they refuse to get distracted by the mess and confusion of the world around us.

God is calling each one of us who are serious about our faith to rise up and be an Oak of Righteousness where he has planted us.

Yes – I can point fingers at politicians and lawmakers.  That’s the easy way out – the blame game.

Sure – I can get upset.  I can say all kinds of things about how bad our culture has become – complain, complain.

But what part of this do I own? And what am I doing about it?

What are you doing about the part God has given you?

How often am I talking to God about it, asking him to point out my next step in making a difference?

As we obey, we become a solid planting of the Lord with our roots sunk deep into His truth.  God hates wrong-doing and injustice.  He righteously fights these battles using us when we are in line with him.

God promises that our obedience will bring us double portions of his blessing and everlasting joy.    He extends these blessings to our children (awesome) and tells us that we will be acknowledged as ‘the people the Lord has blessed’. (vs 9).

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

Not a Coincidence

You call them coincidences.  Situations come together and there’s an unexpected check or a conflict resolves itself without you doing anything or you get an awesome yet much needed surprise at just the right time.  How great!  Wow!  What a coincidence!

But it’s not a coincidence.  It’s a God-incidence.  It didn’t just happen – God made it happen.  Every day God goes ahead of me, working things out for my good.  When I get to tomorrow, he has already been there, taking care of the details and organizing blessings for me.

So I can relate to King Jehoshaphat’s story when the people of Judah were being attacked by a huge combined army made up of several of their enemies.  A prophet of God had just told Jehoshaphat, “This is what the Lord says to you; ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not your’s, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20: 15.  Jehoshaphat believed this message from God and told his people to “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” verse 20.

Then he appointed a group of men to go in front of his army singing praises to the LORD.

This creates a vivid picture in my mind of this army of tough, armor-clad soldiers carrying their swords and shields while men lifting praises to God marched in front of them, leading the way.

While the army of Judah was marching toward battle, God set ambushes against the enemy army.  The individual armies within that enormous army started fighting amongst themselves and totally destroyed each other.

When the army of Judah got to the top of the hill that overlooked the desert where they were going to fight, all they saw were dead bodies.  The battle was over and they were victorious!

A God-incident.  He took care of it before they ever got there.

God often does this in my life.  When I have my spiritual eyes open, I see God-incidences happening all through my life.  I have learned that, when I am unsure of my next step in a situation, I need to pray to God.  I trust that he’s going ahead of me – either taking care of the situation or creating an opportunity for me to say or do what I’m thinking about.  So I pray….and watch…and wait…. until he moves.  It’s amazing!  He either works it all out for my good without me doing anything or he opens up a door for me to do or say what he’s prompting me to say.   Sometimes it takes a while for it all to come together but timing is everything.

God-incidences are always the perfect thing at the perfect time.

Next time you think something is a coincidence, open your spiritual eyes and take another look.

Thank you, Abba Father.

How Much More

How big is my God?  How much does he want to bless me?

God stopped me this week as I read the story in the Bible of the widow whose son was going be taken as a slave because her husband had debts he didn’t pay before he died.  She asked Elisha for help saying she had nothing left except a small jar of olive oil.

Elisha said, ” Go around and ask your neighbors for empty jars.  Don’t ask for just a few.  Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” 2 Kings 4: 3 – 4.   She did exactly what Elisha said and she just kept filling the jars until they were all full. The oil stopped flowing when her last jar was full.  Then she sold the oil to pay her debts and had enough money left over to live on.

Now that I know the end of the story, my automatic response is – too bad she didn’t get more jars! Then she could have blessed others as well through this miracle that happened to her.

Did you go there? It was great that she had enough money to live on but how much more did God have for her if she had had a bigger view of her God?

And then I wonder how many times God was willing to bless me abundantly but I didn’t bring enough jars?  I didn’t bring enough faith?  Enough trust?

How often do I short-cut God’s attempts to lavish love and care on my life because I don’t ask?

The message I’ve been consistently receiving lately from God is that there are some mountains he will move if I will boldly ask.  He’s stirring up a wind of his Spirit that he is inviting me to take part in if I will ‘bring enough jars’.

Have I shared with you that God has asked me to write a book and share my experiences of surviving the death of my son who was a Phoenix Police Officer killed in the line of duty 6 years ago? Writing a book is a new mountain for me to climb. In obedience, I have started it and I’m counting on God to guide me to the end.

Nothing is impossible for my Father God so I am boldly asking him to write this book through me – telling the story that he has been writing in my life these last 6 years – and I’m expecting to watch God-sized things happen.

I’ve got a lot of jars lined up, Abba Father.