Suffering

I’ve never talked to anyone who liked to suffer.

It feels like being a child of God should equate to an easier life filled with beautiful moments.  But that’s not reality.  Life on this earth is heart-breaking and painful – even for the children of the King.

At least we’re in good company.  Look at the suffering of God’s perfect son – Jesus.

And the suffering of the apostles.  In Acts 5 we read that the apostles were whipped by the Sanhedrin for teaching the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ and then released.

“The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

Rejoicing because they were worthy of suffering disgrace for Jesus?  What a surprising attitude!  The apostles are role-modeling for you and for me a life that is totally sold out to Jesus.  They had given up all the joys and comforts of this world and had fixed their eyes on heaven.

Amen.  Let it be so with us, Abba Father.

What Do I Believe?

Do I really believe God loves me unconditionally?

Do I really believe God is all-powerful and that nothing is impossible for him?

Do I really believe that God wants the best for me and is working everything out for my good?

Yes, I do.

And, because I believe these things, I am willing to live each day based on these truths.

I bet some of these same thoughts, questions and decisions must have been going through Mary’s mind as the Angel Gabriel told her she was going to give birth to a son who would be a great king and whose kingdom would never end.

What did she really believe?  Was she willing to accept this very tough, extremely supernatural assignment for her life with the calm assurance that God would keep all of his promises to her?

Mary’s faith was strong and sure.  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  Then the angel left her.

Right answer, Mary!

Does this challenge you?  It definitely challenges me.

God has given me a very tough road to travel following the death of my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty May 19, 2016.

It’s a very dark, grief-filled road with lots of hazards.

Do I believe that God can work even this evil and horrible event out for my good?  That’s a very difficult question.

And my answer is yes.

But the good that will come from this will be good based on God’s perspective which is not always my perspective.   You can probably imagine my perspective – I want Davey to still be here on earth, living less than 2 miles from me, dropping by later with his son to pick up my husband so they can all go to Home Depot like they did at least once a week.  That will never happen again.

God’s perspective is focused on eternity and he is teaching me some lessons I never wanted to learn about focusing myself on eternity as well.  I am realizing that people getting the chance to hear the messages of Davey’s legacy of love is a win for God.  The opportunities we are getting to share God’s love with others is a win for God.  Any chance I get to tell my story of God’s faithfulness to me and to my family  through this tragedy is a win for God.

And – as long as God is winning – I’m good.  I’ll submit.  I’ll trust.

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Love you, Abba Father.

400 years of Silence

I can’t imagine it – God being silent for 400 years.

That’s the amount of time between the Old Testament and the New.   So it is said that God was silent.

But was he?  Really?

It’s hard for me to imagine that my Father God who loves us and cares for us so diligently each day would be quiet for 400 years.  I think it’s very possible that he was speaking and interacting with people at that time but none of it was meant to become part of his revelation to us so it was not included in the Bible.

When I think about how much I need God each day and knowing that there were some faithful people during that time as well, it doesn’t make sense that he was actually silent for 400 years.  It doesn’t sound like something he would do.

But we know that there were 400 years between the two parts of the Bible.  For some reason, God put in a significant break before he begins the account of his greatest Gift of all time – salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

Mark’s account says, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the son of God”.

John’s account says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

The Light of the World was arriving – we would never be the same.

Amen.  Hallelujah!

Thank you, Abba Father.

It’s Supernatural

I can’t explain it.  There are no logical and rational ways to describe the ‘God magic’ that happens in my life.  I have story after story of God interacting with my life and God intervening in my life.

One of the ways God constantly intervenes in my life is enabling me to memorize scripture.  I have a terrible memory.  I don’t remember names, I don’t remember dates, I don’t remember who wrote what or who sang what.  I have trouble remembering my own phone number sometimes.

But I can memorize scripture.  I do the legwork of getting out my cards hundreds of times and then God gradually etches his words on my brain.  I have memorized several chapters of the Bible including James 1 and now I’m halfway through James 2.  The whole book of James is my goal – unless God changes it.  Supernatural.  It’s not me.

I had a family situation a while ago where I thought I needed to take care of something.  I thought I needed to call someone and get something figured out.  I was really concerned about it and kept praying about it but it looked like nothing was happening.  I kept putting this call on my ‘to do’ list for each day and it never got done.  That’s very unusual for me so I realized God was stopping me from making this call.  Then I got a call from the family member involved and they had totally taken care of the situation in the way that I was going to suggest.  How awesome that this person decided to do the right thing on their own (with some serious nudging from God).  My job was just to encourage them and pat them on the back!  Perfect!

God had it handled.  I learned a lot from that situation.  I have to give God time to orchestrate his answers.  I have to pray and keep my mouth shut.  I have to actually give situations to God without taking them back.  I realized I always want him to work his ‘magic’, it’s  better that way.

So, when I read in Daniel that Daniel has some of the same vision that Ezekiel had, it’s not hard to recognize God doing his supernatural thing.  Their visions were extremely similar even though Daniel’s was many years after Ezekiel’s.  I’m not surprised.  If its true, it’s true.  They were visions about the ‘end times’ so they are still true today.

The visions were about the ongoing battle between good and evil – God and Satan.  We are in the middle of that same battle today and this conflict will not be finished until the world ends.

Meanwhile, when we have faith and trust in our powerful Creator God, we get to experience the supernatural.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Define It

What is your definition of a blessing?

Is it getting something that you want?  Or is it getting something God wants for you?

I figured out quite a few years ago that I want what God wants for me.  I realized that he gives good things – better things than I could dream of.  He gives important things that only come from him which money can’t buy – like peace and love and purpose.

God tells us in Ezekiel 24 that he is planning ‘showers of blessings’ for his sheep, for his people.  I imagine my Abba Father in heaven  looking through his huge warehouses of great stuff  as he plans to bless me saying, “Oh, I’ll give her that – it will help her balance all the priorities in her life.

“And that!  She has no idea how much peace that’s going to bring into her days.

“And – in the middle of all that – I have some very special surprises for her.  Their  names are Micah, Eden and Sydney (my grand darlings) and they will bring her much joy and happiness.”

Thank you so much, Abba Father, for the blessings that you shower down on us.  Please give us what you want us to have because you always know what’s best for us.  We love you.

 

Restored

Forgiven

Made new.

I’ve made mistakes.  You’ve made mistakes.  We have all messed up – ending up dealing with some degree of mud and pain as consequences.

I had a period of my life where I wandered very far away from God.  When I realized how lost I had become, all I wanted to do is go back.

Be restored.

Be forgiven.

Be renewed.

The really awesome news for all of us is that God is the creator of second chances.  He stands ready with third, fourth, and more chances – how many do I need?  The only answer I have to that is ‘more’.

God promises us in Ezekiel 11 that, when we turn back to him, he will give us a new perspective.  He will change us from the inside out – starting with our hearts.  He will open our hearts so we can feel the peace and joy only he can give.  When we focus on loving God and loving others, we will experience all the blessings that come from a good, good Father.

Do you want to be restored?

He’s waiting.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Sword Fighting Class – The Verse and Chapter Numbers Disappear

God has some things he wants me to know.  He has some things he wants you to have an in-depth understanding of – that’s why we’re memorizing.  And it’s here – in the book of James, Chapter 2.   So we begin,

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.

Interesting – God’s going to speak to us about favoritism.  What a hot topic in our world today!  He’s got to things he wants to teach us and he wants us to really get this – that’s why we’re memorizing it.  God’s going to use this truth as we go about our lives  – watch for him.  He’s moving.

Some suggestions for how to memorize:

I’ll be writing everything we have memorized down every week – it helps me get most of the words right as I write them over and over.

I also write them on index cards and put them in my car.  Every car ride with me is a Sword Fighting Class, whether I’m alone or not.  I have to say them out loud, too, because otherwise they just don’t stick.  So I will say the new verse several times and then add it to the verses I’ve already memorized and say all of it several times.  Depending on how long the car ride is, I will also start with Chapter 1 and go all the way through at least once a week to review it all and keep the communication channels with God wide open.

I have discovered that one of the huge blessings of memorizing scripture is that the verse numbers and chapter numbers fall away and I am hearing the scripture like it was told to the Israelites back when it was written.  God’s word flows and ebbs so much better without all of the stops and spaces.  It makes so much more sense.

Thank you, Abba Father, for helping us etch your word upon our hearts and minds.

What Does He Want?

Trying to follow God can be confusing.

It can be difficult.

It can seem like a long checklist of things we need to do.  And then there’s that other checklist of things we have to give up.

When I feel like this, I know Satan is whispering his lies into my head because these lists are not from God.  Jesus told us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind and love others as ourselves.   These two commandments include all of the laws he cared about.  No list.

The Prophet Micah simply states, “What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Not a long list of to-do’s.  And nothing on the list tells me I have to give up anything.

I have found, as I have been learning how to walk humbly with God, that he transforms my thinking and I want to give up things that aren’t good for me.

I want to act justly.

I want to love mercy.  These aren’t ‘have to’s’.

Yes, there are times when following God is still confusing and it’s still difficult.  But that’s not because of checklists.

And, yes, I have given up some things – because I wanted to.  I have given up my plans for my life, trying to do things my way and trying to be in control.

Now I submit to his will and his plans and I’m confident that he is in control.

There’s another thing I’ve given up – my heart.  It’s his.

I love you, Abba Father.

Soften My Heart

Isaiah 6, 2018:

Help me hear and understand you, Father.

Help me see, Father.  I want to see more than just what’s on the surface.

Soften my heart towards the things you care about.

Open my ears, Abba.  Open my eyes to your truth.

When I am close to you, I see you.  I hear you.

I open my heart to you now, Father

I am turning to you.

Heal me, make me whole.

Believe It!

Our world can be so disappointing – people lying to get ahead, just telling you what they think you want to hear.  Often, never actually intending to do what they say they will do.

God is just the opposite.

He always does what he says he is going to do.

He always keeps his promises.

He doesn’t always do things the way that we think he should but – then again –

he is God and we’re not –

he is perfect and we’re not –

we have a 3.5 lb brain while his is infinite and eternal –

we just need to accept that his ways are better than our’s.  I need to believe that and stand firm each day on the fact that God loves me and wants the best for me.

God and I have a personal relationship and he tells me about my part of this relationship in Leviticus 26:3-13.  Let’s all underline this in our Bibles and believe it.

My part – keep his commands and obey him.

God’s response –

He will bless my labor, what I do.

I will have food to eat and a safe place to live.

He will give me peace – I will lie down at night without fear.

He will remove danger and my enemies from my life.  I will have victory over my enemies.

God will look on me with favor and keep all of his promises.

I will prosper.  He will be my God and I will be his daughter.

I need to believe this and move forward confidently – with my head held high and my eyes focused on my Father.

Then I will receive the blessings of obedience.

Amen.  May it be so, Abba Father.