A Long, Precious Legacy

Since I was born –

from then to now –

God has been my Shepherd.

So Jacob’s words echo through my mind as I read in Genesis 48 how Jacob blesses Joseph and Joseph’s sons before he dies.  ” Then he blessed Joseph and said, ‘May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm – may he bless these boys.” verse 15.

Jacob and I share the experience of having a long family legacy of faith.

As Jacob blesses his grandsons, Joseph isn’t happy when Jacob  switches hands and gives the younger son the greater blessing.

But I know that one of the biggest blessings these grandsons and all of Jacob’s grandsons received is the long family history of belief and faith they have been nurtured in since their birth.  It started with their Great, Great Grandfather Abraham and it has been passed down to them.

They have had years and years of role models in their lives of people who followed God and obeyed.  This is a precious blessing that will change their lives forever if they choose to follow in the steps of those who have gone before them.

I have received this blessing as I pursue a life of loving God and being faithful to him….

as my mother and father did….

and my grandmothers and grandfathers…..

and my great grandmothers and great grandfathers – on back through history.

If this isn’t true of your family, you have the awesome opportunity to get it started.

Thank you for giving me the blessing of having a long family history of faith, Abba Father.

He is With Me

He is with me….

all the time….

blessing me….

guiding me….

loving me…

As I read the story of Joseph in Genesis, I notice that one phrase keeps repeating itself – over and over.

“The Lord was with Joseph.”

Joseph lived in Old Testament times so the Holy Spirit had not yet come to live inside of every believer.  God’s relationship with his people in the Old Testament was very different from now because sin was in the way.  It explains why the Old Testament is full of violence, bloody animal sacrifices and killing.  Our Righteous Father had to keep his distance.   Jesus had not yet given up his life on the cross to pay for all of the sins of the world.

Even so, as we read through the Old Testament, God’s Spirit did come to earth at special times to be  ‘with’ chosen people.

Joseph was one of them.  And Joseph prospered even when his circumstances were not good.

I am so thankful to be living on earth after Jesus came because now the Holy Spirit is ‘with’ everyone who has accepted the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus and placed their faith in him.  Everything good on earth comes from God – even when he doesn’t get the credit.

I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit is ‘with’ me every day – caring for me, counseling me and walking beside me.

And I prosper despite my circumstances….

because God is good, all the time.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Against the Flow

It’s hard to stand against the pull of popular opinion.  It’s difficult to say ‘no’ when so many people around me are saying ‘yes’.  It’s no fun to stand up for what I know is right when the majority of the people in my world think it’s all ‘ok’.

But there are times and there are situations where I need to stand, even when it’s hard and difficult and definitely no fun.  I need to stand.

You need to stand.

Genesis 37 gives us a good example of what happens when people who want to do the right thing don’t stand up against the crowd.  Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son.  He should have stopped the whole nonsense when his brothers started talking about killing their brother, Joseph.  The discussion was bad enough but then Reuben actually let the rest of his brothers throw Joseph in the cistern, leaving him there to die.  The Bible tells us that Reuben was ‘secretly planning to rescue him (Joseph) and return him to his father’. Genesis 37:22b

Too little, too late, Reuben!

While Reuben was distracted with something else, the rest of his brothers sold Joseph to some slave traders passing by.  When Reuben got back, Joseph was gone.

Should have, could have, would have…..but Reuben didn’t.  He didn’t stop his brothers right at the beginning so he missed his chance to do what was right.  As the oldest, he had an opportunity to stand up to his brothers and help teach them what is right.  But he missed it.

I can miss my chance to do what is right, too, if I follow the crowd when they are going down a crooked path.

Reuben didn’t do or say anything to stop them so he became part of the group that did this despicable thing.  He became part of the problem.

How often to do I miss my chance to stand up for what is right?

How often do you?

Please give us courage to stand up for what you tell us is right, Abba Father.

Branded

Yes, the truth is that Jesus offers you and I 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, “Whether born in your household or bought with your money (slaves), they must be circumcised.”  Genesis 17:13.  I see this as a kind of ‘branding’ of God’s people.

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 with 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 then 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 Abraham’s children because I have put my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Are you a Child of the Promise?

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 through his word, even when the Bible says ‘men’.  It’s also clear in the New Testament how much 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 expands our thinking when Paul teaches us in Romans in the New Testament that God is looking for is an internal circumcision of the spiritual heart of everyone who puts their faith in Jesus.  The circumcision of the heart means our hearts are wide open to God as we love him with all of our hearts, minds and souls.

This circumcision is for all believers – male and female.

I am on a Journey Towards the Truth, reading God’s word every year as my faith in God and trust in him grows.  I am branded by a heart sold out to God.  My love for God affects everything that happens in my life.

What’s the condition of your heart?  Is it wide open to God?

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

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 5 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 peace as a result of our wrestling matches.  I have learned more about how much he loves me these last 5 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 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 a ‘limp’ – evidence in my life that I have successfully wrestled with God.  With God walking beside me, I have overcome my questions and frustrations.

God has helped me experience his love and faithfulness in the deepest part of my soul.  I may not understand it all but I trust him with it all.

Thank you, 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.  That’s 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, 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, Ishmael, 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 looking for any way out except for death.

God heard Ishmael’s cries.  “Then God opened her (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.  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.

Leaving It All Behind

It’s just stuff. It can be replaced.

I’m in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I realized I have a whole new perspective this year on the story in Genesis of Lot and his family fleeing from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah before God rained fire down from heaven, destroying everything. They were told not to look back as they left but Lot’s wife didn’t listen and she turned into a pillar of salt as she turned back to look at her home and all of her stuff.

This is a great lesson on what is really important.

I live in the Denver area where thousands of people just had this same experience. The Marshall Fire started right in the center of a very populated area and the winds were 100 mph and higher. The fire grew fast and furiously, burning up everything in it’s path. Thousands of people were quickly evacuated from their homes taking their families with them but leaving everything else behind.

My daughter’s house was initially in the path of the fire if it kept going in the direction it was going. So she and her husband packed up their 2 small children, their dog, their computers, their safe with important documents and 2 small suitcases with clothes and precious toys and came to my house. They left everything else behind not knowing if anything would still be there after the fire was contained.

We all got into bed that night wondering what the morning would bring.

During the night God answered our prayers and calmed the winds giving the fire fighters a chance to get a head of the fire. The next morning my daughter and her husband were able to pack up their family and go back home because it was no longer in danger.

But thousands of people went back to their neighborhoods to find everything burned. Nothing was left untouched by the fire. In every interview I saw on TV, people were sad about losing their ‘stuff’ but very happy that their family was safe.

What a great lesson for all of us about what is really important.

It’s just stuff.

The Unknowns

It has been hard in the past to make decisions about next steps when I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  There have been times in my life when the ‘unknowns’ created a lot of anxiety and fear.

I love reading about Abram’s (soon to be Abraham) decision-making in Genesis.  First, God tells Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”  Genesis 12:1. 

No forwarding address on that one.  Just go.  I’ll tell you when to stop.

And the Bible tells us in verse 4, “So Abram went.” Wow! Abram is a good role-model here for how much he trusted God.

This is my 11th year of reading the entire Bible and it is comforting to realize how much my faith and trust in God has grown as I’ve read and applied God’s word to my life. I experienced something  similar to Abram’s 2 years ago when God told me to move from Phoenix to Denver.  What?  I had been living in Phoenix for over 40 years and had never once thought about moving to Denver even though my daughter and her family were now living there. 

I prayed about it overnight and knew that I needed to do what God was asking me to do.  I have learned from experience that the only way I can expect God’s blessings in my life is to be obedient.

Then I shared what God was saying with my husband who prayed about it and the next day he said, “We need to go.”  He has also learned the importance of obedience. 

We heard and we went.

We put our house in Phoenix up for sale and I heard God telling me not to buy a house in Denver until we actually moved.  So we moved while our house was under contract and arrived in Denver on March 17, 2020 – just as everything was shutting down because of the pandemic. 

We know you’ve got this, Father God.

We were ‘homeless’ during the weeks of being sheltered in.  The first house we looked at in Denver was the right size and the right price and the right place and God said ‘yes’ so we bought it – getting a great deal on it since a lot of people were backing away from buying houses because of the uncertainty.

We knew you had something good waiting for us, Father.

These last 2 years, I have continually seen God’s hand on our lives.  There have been many situations – one after another – where I know God moved us to Denver ‘for such a time as this’.  He had a purpose for bringing us to this new city and he had blessings lined up if we would obey.

I have discovered that it’s not so hard anymore making decisions when I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  God knows and I trust him.  I don’t experience the anxiety or fear I used to have because I know God is in control and he is working it all out for my good.  I just need to listen and do what he says.

Thank you for taking away my fear of the unknowns, Abba Father.

Two People = One

Dating is fun.

Being engaged is exciting.

Weddings are a great big party that celebrates love and commitment.

Marriage is tough.  Good…..but tough.  Worth it…..but not easy.

I’ve been married to the same man for over 40 years.  So I know how tough marriage is.  And he knows  how tough marriage  is.  In order to stay married, we have had to work through it all.  And stuff just keeps coming at us.

Every year, as I begin reading through the Bible again, I pause when I read Genesis 3:20, “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.”

Adam named his wife Eve after they had both lived in the Garden of Eden with God for who knows how long.  This was after they had eaten the apple and sinned.

Up to this point, they were both called Adam.  Together, they completed the person of Adam.

man+woman = one.

How much would our perspective of marriage change if we sincerely considered ourselves – man and wife – to be one person?  It wouldn’t be, “I’m done dealing with his problems.” or “I’m tired of her behavior – I’m out of here”.

It would be more like “my leg always likes to cramp up” or “my neck is stiff and its driving me crazy”.  When our leg cramps up, we rub it and stretch it.  When our neck is stiff, we massage it and warm it up.  When a physical part of us is having a problem, we work with the issue, figure out how to help it and get help if we need it.  There’s no other option.

VERY different than the ‘throw away’ attitude that many people in our culture have towards marriage today, isn’t it?

Sometimes married people joke about their ‘better half’.  How would our marriages be different if we acted like we believed that?

Please help us honor you with our marriages, Abba Father.

My Ticket to Ride

How close can I get to God?

That’s a great goal, isn’t it?

I’d like to get as close as Enoch.  Enoch was Adam’s great, great, great, great grandson and we read in Genesis that he walked in close fellowship with God.  “Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years.  Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”  Genesis 5:23-24.

Enoch never died.  God just took him home.  I don’t have any control over it, but that’s the way I’d really like to go.  Elijah was the only other person that we know of who God took up to heaven before he died.  Elijah rode a fiery chariot up to heaven.

How cool is that?  How many bonus points does it take to get a ride like that?

God has a huge sense of humor so he knows I’m just kidding.  I was once told that it’s ok to joke around with God and that makes sense to me.  He is always watching us so we might as well make him laugh.

I wonder how many more people have ‘disappeared’ or gotten a chariot ride up to heaven?  It’s a safe bet that we don’t know about them all.  I prefer the chariot ride because I wouldn’t want the people I love who are left behind to have any questions about what happened.

It is obvious that both Enoch and Elijah had a very close relationship with God.  That must be the ticket.  So I’m going to work on my relationship with God knowing he has already determined my last day and what my trip into heaven is going to look like.

But it never hurts to ask, right?

Please put me on the chariot list, Father.