Getting To The Good Stuff

When we want something to happen,

when it’s going to be good,

when today isn’t that great.

But we have to wait.  It’s hard.

The Old Testament of the Bible ended on a high point of the Israelites turning back to God, listening to him and trying to obey.  Then came a 400-year break in God’s Word to us.

We know the Israelites continued on with their lives during that time. They were waiting….

expecting the Messiah to show up. How long were they going to have to wait?

I’m reading and blogging through the Chronological Bible which is re-organized so it follows the actual timeline that things happened.  I started reading Genesis on January 1 and now it’s October.  So 3/4 of the Bible is the Old Testament.  If three-quarters of what God wants to reveal to us is in the Old Testament, then I’m very glad I’ve been reading and studying the Old Testament every year for the last 10 years.  After spending 3/4 of the year reading the Old Testament, I have a better understanding of how badly the world at that time needed Jesus.  My anticipation of the coming Messiah rises as I read over and over again of the Israelites turning away from God, getting lost in idol worship, paying the consequences and repenting.  Then they get their spiritual act together – but just for a short time until they start wandering again.

Oh, how serious was their need for a Savior!

It was hard to wait.

You and I live under the New Covenant with God.  The Messiah has come.  There is no more waiting.  Jesus was sent to earth to offer free salvation to everyone who would put their faith in him.  And it’s really clear right now that our culture needs saving just as badly as the Israelites did.

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The last 1/4 of the Bible is so much easier to read than the Old Testament because Jesus’ love, grace, truth and light shines out of the New Testament.  Jesus is our role-model for how God wants us to live our lives here on earth.

A smile spreads across my face as I begin to read the New Testament – the rest of the story – for the 10th time.

No more waiting.   The Messiah has come.  This is the really good stuff.

Thank you, Jesus.

I’ve Got Your Back

When we want to accomplish something big, it takes a team.  One person can only do what one person can get done.

I have discovered when a group of people join energy and brainpower to tackle a goal together, their efforts are multiplied and good things happen. I’ve seen big successes roll in when a team of people are engaged, committed to working together and helping each other achieve a goal.

And when God is involved I have seen a supernatural factor come into play that is truly astounding to witness.  Projects turn out much better than planned.  Blessings pile up.  We see our faith growing as, together, we experience the power of God in our lives.

Has this happened to you? I’ve experienced this many times and its exciting every time it happens.

So I love reading the historical account of Nehemiah leading the Israelites in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  The Jews were being attacked regularly by their enemies who didn’t want them to complete the wall.  They were very discouraged.

Nehemiah refused to stop building.  He knew that he had been sent back to Jerusalem to lead this project so he couldn’t stop.  He organized the men into teams, “From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bow and armor. Nehemiah 4:16. They protected their brothers with everything they had.

Working together,

protecting each other,

they accomplished the goal of rebuilding the wall.

They could not have done it without each other.

Our Spiritual family is like this.  We need each other.  Each one of us needs to use our spiritual gifts in order to build each other up and fulfill our purpose of reaching others for Christ. We watch each other’s backs – loving and forgiving each other in supernatural ways.

And we love those who don’t know Jesus yet

while our Spiritual family supports us and cheers us on.

We can do this, because God first loved us…

and He has our backs.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Why?

Why is this happening?

Why am I struggling through this?

Why?

I have discovered that many of the ‘why?’ questions I ask God are not answered immediately.  His answer comes later.  In some cases, many years later.

I have learned to recognize God’s movement in many of my why’s.  God is a huge planner.  He is the master orchestrator of the past, present and future for all of his children.

Why am I going through a tough time today?  Often I realize much later that the first tough experience trained me for an even tougher trial that was coming my way.  I learned lessons in the first struggle which helped me be more successful in navigating the next difficult situation in my life.

God prepared me.

As I read God’s Word, I see God’s preparation as a consistent thread in his epic love story.  In the book of Esther, Queen Esther was faced with a life-threatening situation when her people, the Jews, are being seriously threatened and Mordecai gave her this challenge, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a times as this.” Esther 4:14. Wisely, Esther responded to the challenge by asking Mordecai to gather together all the Jews of Susa to fast with her for 3 days as she prepared for her audience with the king.  She was going to reveal the fact that she was a Jew and ask the king to save her people.  At that time in history, you were putting your life in danger by going to the king when he had not invited you.  If the king didn’t want to see her, he could have her killed.

As the story unfolds, we see that over those 3 days of fasting God helped Esther develop a strategy for delivering her message.  She set the stage first so that the king was ready to grant her plea for mercy for her and her people.

Preparation.

I know it’s a big part of why God let’s difficult things happen in my life – and your’s.  Each step of the way, God guides us and teaches us what we will need to know for the next trial in our lives, training us so we are ready to complete the purpose he has for us here.

Thank you for preparing us and walking beside us, Abba Father

What’s Your Story?

I have a story.

You have a story.

How did we get here? Tell me about the mountains you climbed and I’ll tell you about the valleys I’ve struggled through.

God tells us in Psalm 107 that we all need to tell our stories.  “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” Psalm 107: 2.

Each of us has a unique tale to share.

Some of us have wandered, looking for a place to belong. We were hungry for love, starving for a purpose. When we cried out to God, he drew us closer to himself – to the place he made just for us. God gave us a purpose to get up every morning.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us lived in darkness, bound by chains of rebellion, stumbling through life with no help in sight. But we cried out to the LORD and he brought us out of the utter darkness, breaking all of our chains.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Some of us made very foolish decisions and were suffering through the consequences of those to the point of thinking that death might be an option.  But, instead, we turned to God for help and he healed us, rescuing us from the living death we found ourselves in.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us have experienced violent storms in our lives as huge waves of pain and grief washed over us. When our courage and strength were gone, we finally cried out to the LORD and he “stilled the storm with a whisper”, calmed the waves and guiding us home to him.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

My story is that I have known Jesus as my Savior my entire life but I decided to wander in my young adulthood – trying out all the ‘fun’ things the world had to offer. It seemed great at first but gradually my life because very empty and filled with darkness. So I called out to God who made it very clear to me that he had never left me. When I turned back to him, I found him waiting for me with open arms.

God has been gradually drawing me closer to him as I travel this Journey towards the Truth each day. I have left the emptiness and darkness behind, finding meaning and light as I put God first in my life. 

I will continue to tell my story for the rest of my life, giving thanks to God for he is good.

He is Already Responding

Do you ever feel like God is not listening to your prayers? It can feel like this when he doesn’t respond in the way we want him to. It can also feel like this when we just aren’t seeing him move.

God tells us today in the book of Daniel that he heard Daniel’s prayer and sent the angel Gabriel to earth to give a message to him while Daniel was still praying.

“As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” Gabriel told Daniel. Daniel 9:23.

Wow!  As soon as Daniel began to pray, God was responding.  Right away.  Daniel hadn’t even finished praying before God was taking action on his request.

Love it!

God is telling you and me that this is still happening today when we pray.  Before I have finished praying, God is moving, responding, orchestrating things for my good – every day, all day.

Yes, the angel said Daniel was ‘highly esteemed’. Daniel prayed long and often to God. He had a close relationship with God that helped him pray in line with God’s will. We know that, when we pray for what God wants done, it always happens, the answer is always ‘yes’.

I know when I turn to God and pray, recognizing my dependence on him, he takes action. Sometimes I see him moving and other times I don’t. But I trust that he is and I often – in His perfect timing – see the results. Just this weekend I found out that a very important, longer-term prayer of mine has been answered.

I don’t need an angel to tell me that God is listening, I have his Word on it.

Thank you for always listening and responding, Abba Father

What!?

A human hand – unattached to a body – appeared and wrote a message on the wall.

What?!

Daniel tells us this actually happened in the middle of King Belshazzar’s huge banquet!  “Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace.” Daniel 5:5.

You may have heard someone say the phrase ‘I can read the writing on the wall’.  I tend to use this phrase when I’m making a prediction of how a situation is going to work out. I had no idea until the first time I read the entire Bible that this came from the book of Daniel.

After he got over the shock of seeing the hand, King Belshazzar realized he had no idea of what the message meant. But he knew that it obviously was very important. So he consulted with Daniel who was well-known for being able to interpret things when no one else could.  Daniel read the writing and told the king that God was bringing the king’s reign to an end because, ” ..you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” Daniel 8:23.

That very night, the message on the wall was fulfilled and Belshazzar was killed.

One part of the message on the wall was ‘Tekel’ which means “you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” Daniel 5: 27.

The bad news for all of us is – our scales don’t look any better.  Our rebellion.  Our need for control.  Our self-centeredness.  Our disbelief and lack of obedience. Our busyness which causes us to ignore God.

The writing on our wall would have the same message…..

except for the fact that God loved us so much that he gave us an ‘out’.

He sent his perfect son, Jesus, to save us from eternal separation from God.  The entire Bible is a love story about how God created us in his image and desires to have a close, personal relationship with us.

Through his life, death and resurrection, Jesus offers a gift of grace to each one of us – that’s his part.  Our part is accepting his free gift. Jesus wants to move the scales in our favor.

When we put our trust in Jesus, we become precious children of God who are never ‘found wanting’. Jesus did it for you and I….

for all time,

for all who will believe and receive.

It is finished.

Thank you, Jesus.

My Plan

Do you have a plan for your life?

I know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.

As I read Psalm 89, my plan jumps right off the page- “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” vs 1.  I will tell everyone I know about how I have experienced your faithfulness all my life, Abba Father.

I will talk about your perfect love for me and the abundant blessings you have showered down on my life.

I will walk with you all of the days I have left on this earth, Father, until the day we walk into heaven together, hand in hand.

I will find my peace in your strength.  I will find my joy in your love and faithfulness.  I will find my strength in your righteousness and justice.

I will walk in the light of your presence each day, Father. 

And I will continue to sing of your great love forever.

Amen and Amen.

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.

My Special Possession – 2021

Do you have a special possession?

If someone asked me that, I would have to think awhile because I’m not very attached to “things”.   I’d probably say the ring that my mother left to me when she went home to heaven is special to me. It became invaluable to me after she was gone.

My own wedding ring is also important to me.  It symbolizes almost 40 years of love and commitment between my husband and I.  Every five years we changed or added to my ring so when I look at it, I see the history of us building a marriage that has lasted through many storms.  After our son who was a Phoenix Police Officer was killed in the line of duty, I added some blue sapphires onto my wedding ring in honor and remembrance of a great son and the awesome man he grew up to be.  Precious.

My eyes were opened to my real answer to that question several years ago as I was reading what God says in Ezekiel 44, ” I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel: I will be their possession.” God was all they needed.  God took care of them and he didn’t want them to be distracted by other possessions.

Wow!  This applies to me!  God takes care of me and provides for me.  He doesn’t want me to be distracted by possessions. My relationship with God is my most prized possession.  I can’t imagine life without him.  There is nothing I own –  my mother’s ring and my ring included – that gives me the love, joy and strength that God gives me.  Nothing else gives me the forgiveness and freedom that only comes from God.

Yes, God is my special possession.  My relationship with him is so much more precious and perfect than anything I could ever buy or own.

Many of you read this blog a couple of years ago when I initially wrote it. It amazes me to look back and see how God was preparing me through his Word for something that was going to happen.

Last year my wedding ring was stolen. One of the stones on the ring was loose so the jeweler sent the ring in to fix the stone before I lost it. The ring disappeared on the way.

I lost the whole ring. Gone. Over 40 years of building this ring with my husband stolen from me. Over 40 years of never taking the ring off except at night because I didn’t want to lose it. I had one spot and one spot only I put it if it wasn’t on my finger. I never put it in my pocket, I never put it by the sink. I knew the easiest way to lose it was to take it off so I didn’t, I just cleaned it regularly.

I would have been devastated when I got the call that it was stolen if I had not already worked through this truth about my most special possession. God reminded me that he was still walking beside me and would never leave me. His love and care and grace can never be stolen away like my ring was.

The jeweler replaced my ring with a very nice ring that looks just like my original one. It’s not ‘my’ ring but it reminds me every day that my relationship with God is my most precious possession and it can never be taken away from me.

I live my life in gratitude for all you are, Abba Father, and for all you have done for me.

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 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 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 about you?  Would you like to experience a new breath of God’s spirit in your soul?

Thank you for your breath of real life, Abba Father.