Great Love!

Do you feel it?

I do.

I see it in the gorgeous sunrise as God once again declares his faithfulness to me with the start of a new day.  I feel it in my 3 year-old granddaughter’s hug.  I see it in the smiles of my friends.  I feel it in the ‘love you’ from my husband of over 40 years.

It’s the great love God has lavished upon me.

God tells me that I am a precious child and he proves that by showing his love for me in a multitude of ways, every day.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.”  1 John 3: 1a

It’s very encouraging to realize that the closer I get to God, the more of his love I feel pouring out over me.  As I’ve been consistently memorizing God’s scripture these last 6 years, I also feel his wisdom pouring out from his Word.  More knowledge.  More understanding.

I am his child!  How much more love and wisdom and knowledge and understanding does he have available for me?

There is no limit!

As 2022 quickly approaches, I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for this next year.  New challenges.  More love.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Paul’s Prayer … and Mine

Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3 and I respond –

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name.” vs 14.

You are awesome, Father.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,.. ” vs 16.

Please give us your strength, Father.

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” vs 17.

Make your home in our hearts, Jesus, and teach us how to trust you more.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with the Lord’s holy people to grasp how wide, and long and deep is the love of Christ…” vs 18.

Grow our roots deep in your awesome love, Jesus.

“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.” vs 19

Please help us feel and understand the perfect love you pour out on us each day.  Only you can make us complete, Abba.  The power to live a full life comes from you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,…” vs 20.

We believe, Father, that you can do anything – things beyond what we can imagine –  and that you want to accomplish your plans through us.  We are your hands and feet here on earth.

“to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” vs 20.

Amen.  Love you, Father.

Do You Feel It?

It burns.  Do you feel it?

As I read God’s Word, the truth burns through the mountains of lies and confusion that our culture is busy building up all around me.

I’m a thinker, not a feeler so reading and studying God’s Word rocks my world.  God’s word feels true.  It feels powerful.  It feels right and good.

The ‘feeler’ in me wakes up as God speaks to me through his Word.  My ‘feeler’ confirms for me that this is my Father God teaching me what he wants me to know.  As I listen, God’s words burn into my brain.  I feel the truth etching itself on my soul, creating a desire inside of me to know God better and love him more.

I know what the two men were talking about when they walked with Jesus after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus .  They didn’t know who he was at first, but when their eyes were opened, Jesus disappeared.  And they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us when he talked with us on the road and opened the Scripture to us?” (Luke 24:32)

I can relate.  God’s truth has burned down to the center of my being and I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot!  This Truth gives purpose to all the craziness in this world.  This is Truth that I can hold onto as the storms of life rage around me.   This Truth is filled with light and love and grace and peace.

Yes, it burns.  And it is good.

Do you feel it?

What Are You Looking For?

They looked,

but they were looking in the wrong place.

Have you ever found yourself looking in the wrong place for something you wanted?  I have.  It’s a confusing experience.  Lots of disappointment.

After Jesus was crucified, he was buried and a large stone was rolled over the front of his grave.  Three days later, Mary Magdalene and several other women went to the tomb with burial spices to finish anointing Jesus’ body.  His body had been hastily placed in the tomb because he died right before the Sabbath so they couldn’t complete the work.

Now the women came to finish the preparation of his body for final burial.

Imagine their surprise when they saw the huge stone rolled away from the tomb with an angel sitting on it!  The soldiers guarding the tomb had fainted when the angel appeared so they were laying all over the ground in front of the stone.  

Then the angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid.  I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead, just like he said would happen.”  Matthew 28: 5-6.

Jesus was no longer in the grave.

He was alive!

He is alive!

Jesus left earth but he send the Holy Spirit who lives inside of each person who puts their faith in Jesus.  The Spirit guides us and encourages us – helping to transform us from the inside out.

Today, many people are still looking for what only Jesus can give.  They are looking for things like fulfillment, peace, guidance, purpose and love.  But our world continues to disappoint us with only fleeting glimpses of these things.

Jesus was, is and always will be The Way.  He guides me on the right path, teaches me his unchanging truth and has given me eternal life with him.  My eternal life has started here on earth and will continue when Jesus walks with me into heaven some day.

I have found the Way.

What are you looking for?

Today

It should have been me.

The thief up on the cross next to Jesus was sentenced to die for the bad things he had done.

That was me….before I put my faith in Jesus.

My rebellion, self-centeredness, and lack of compassion are a few of the reasons I should have been on that cross.

The Great News is Jesus was up there on the cross for me…..and for you.  He who knew no sin became sin for us.  He bore the weight of all of the world’s sin – once and for all.  You and I can be redeemed from spiritual death by accepting the free gift of salvation that only Jesus can give.

As I read this account in Luke 23, I visualize Jesus turning to me, looking me in the eye and saying, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” vs 43.

For the thief, it was that day.  Oh, glorious day!

For me, it probably won’t be today – although it could be.

And I’m ready.

There will be come a day for me when it is ‘today’ because I have committed my heart and life to Jesus.  This passage in the Bible reassures me.  The thief did nothing to earn his way into heaven.  He put his faith in Jesus and it was done.  He didn’t say a prayer or say specific words and he was never baptized.  Jesus knew the thief’s heart just like Jesus knows my heart.

This passage also tells me there is no waiting – no purgatory, no additional steps.

Today.

In paradise.

Thank you, Jesus 

Sifted

What does it mean to be sifted?

Ash is sifted to find anything important or useful in it.  Wheat is sifted so the unusable chaff is separated from the valuable grains.

I know what it feels like to be sifted. My world shook when my son, David Glasser, who was Phoenix Police Officer was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. My life crumbled. All of my hopes and dreams for him were stripped away. His future completely disappeared, leaving gaping holes full of hurt in my world.

What was left?

I had to dig deep…..

very deep,

into my faith and what I knew to be true in order to stay standing in the middle of the devastation.

Harsh sifting.

So Jesus’ words to Peter in Luke 22 stop me.  “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.  But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.  So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” vs 31-32.

Satan asked to sift the disciples – this is not the first time I have read this but it’s the first time it has sunk in.  Satan knew that Jesus expected the disciples to share the Great News of salvation to world so the disciples became a pivotal target for Satan.

Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times in one night.  Major sifting.  So Jesus was encouraging Peter that his faith could not only withstand the shaking it was going to get, it was going to become stronger.  Through this experience of denying Jesus, then repenting and turning back to him, Peter would be more prepared to help strengthen his brothers.

I have learned there is purpose in the pain when I let God control what happens next.  God can make good come from evil – he did it in my life. My prayer is that my sharing this with you will help you turn to God when you are being sifted so your faith and trust in him will be strengthened.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

All In

Have you been keeping your distance from Jesus? Do you believe he is the Son of God but you just don’t want to get too close? You don’t want to go ‘all in’? You don’t want to have to give up things you enjoy?

Many of us are like Zacchaeus. When he found out that Jesus was coming, he really wanted to see Jesus so he ran ahead and climbed into a tree to get over the heads of the crowd. He didn’t fight through the crowd so he could get close to Jesus. He kept his distance.

But that’s not how it works with Jesus. When he saw Zacchaeus, Jesus looked right at him and said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly, ” Luke 19:5 Getting close to Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ life forever.

And that is what we need to do if we want to experience the love and joy of a relationship with Jesus. We need to get up front and personal with him. Get out of our trees. Get out of our old habits and traditions.

The only way to genuinely know Jesus is to go ‘all in’.

That’s my story. I had a close relationship with Jesus as a child but wandered as a young adult. Then I came back to church but stayed on the sidelines – enjoying the benefits of a spiritual family but not taking my relationship with God too seriously.

I knew I was on the right track but inside I was miserable and empty. When God challenged me to put him first in my life, I felt I had nothing to lose so I went for it. That’s when I found the love, grace, joy peace and purpose I was looking for. It was almost immediate.

I didn’t have to give up things I liked. I took some things out of my life because I didn’t want them anymore. The things I like have gradually changed the closer I’ve gotten to God.

And the closer to God I get, the easier it is to hear him speak and see him move. It just keeps getting better.

If you’ve been been keeping your distance from Jesus,

you have no idea what you are missing.

God is challenging you today to go ‘all in’.

How Much More

She knocked….

and knocked……

and knocked….

on the door of an unjust judge.  Until he gave in and gave her justice.

How much more will my Father God, who loves me, give me when I ask?

How much more does he have waiting for you when you pray and never give up?

Understanding parable of the Persistent Widow in God’s Word and applying it to my situations changed my life. Jesus tells the story about a widow looking for justice and knocking on on the door of the unjust judge – over and over and over – until he decided to give it to her just to get rid of her. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you , he will see that they get justice, and quickly.” Luke 18: 7-8.

Several times Jesus addressed this same topic. One of my favorites – “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11: 9 -10.

This is my answer. When I’m stuck, when I’m frustrated, when I have no idea what to do – go to God and keep asking until I get an answer.

Now, I know.  When I’m in those situations, I remember the Persistent widow and it reminds me that God has all of the right answers.

I just need to ask.  And keep asking.  And keep asking.

I ask knowing he will answer.  I ask knowing that he will guide me in the next step.  I ask knowing that he has determined the right path for my life.  I ask because I know he has chosen me and he has great plans for me.

As I persist in seeking God…

asking….

believing….

knowing….

he always answers.  Always.  Because he loves me and only wants the best for me.

When I have something big going on – something scary – something overwhelming….I pray.

And I keep praying.

I have had some very memorable days in my life which started in despair and fear and confusion but ended in peace with a plan and a smile because God answered my 200+ prayers that day.  Often I started the day asking for something specific that he didn’t want to give me. By the end of the day, he hadn’t changed my circumstances.  He changed my thinking, my perspective and my goal.  He reminded me that he is in control.

When I persist in turning to God for wisdom, direction and strength he gives me all that I need and so much more.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Do It!

Do you have questions about what God wants you to do?

Do you have various options but you aren’t sure which one is the right one?

One of the huge benefits of faithfully reading God’s Word is how clearly God answers these questions for me. God is constantly pointing out my priorities.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mathew 22: 36-39.

These are the top two. I need to do these – all day, every day.

Earlier in Matthew, Jesus has some more clear directions to those of us who have put our faith in him.

“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13.

“You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14.

How am I supposed to be light? Our dark world needs a lot of light, doesn’t it? I am Christ’s hands and feet on this earth. When I share his love and acceptance, I am spreading his light. When my life and attitude are different in a positive way from the darkness that is quickly spreading across our country, my life shines for Christ.

How am I supposed to be salt? I need to be engaged in my culture, sprinkling God’s love over the people around me. When I’m living my faith out loud I bring the flavor of Christ – his caring, forgiveness and truth – with me where ever I go.

When I have options and choices, these scriptures help me decide. Which option helps me show my love for God and love other’s the most? What choice is the best in making my life salt and light in my corner of this earth?

What about you? What does it mean to you when Jesus says you are the salt and light of the world?

He challenging us – are we accepting that challenge?

There is no time better than today to do it!

Please light up our paths, Abba Father, and guide our steps.

What Makes Him Happy?

Being ‘good enough’ is not my goal.  Getting my act together is not my goal.  Checking all the boxes – keeping busy with ‘God’ stuff – is not my goal.

The historical account of Jesus’ baptism tells me what pleases God, what makes him happy.

I do.

If you have put your faith in Jesus, you do.

When I trusted in Jesus and was redeemed by his sacrifice on the cross, I was adopted by God and became one of his precious daughters.  ‘Joint heirs with Jesus’ – as an old hymn describes it.  What Jesus did for me makes me ‘good enough’.

While reading about Jesus’ baptism, I realize a very important fact. Jesus hadn’t started his ministry yet.  He hadn’t DONE anything huge for God.  “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17.

Let’s take a moment to let that soak in, my brothers and sisters.  Jesus was God’s son and God was pleased with him – before his ministry began.  Before Jesus did any miracles.  Before he did any teaching. During this spectacular moment when all three parts of our Triune God met on earth, the only thing our Father God wanted to say was how much he loved his son, Jesus.

Accepting salvation through Jesus makes you and I children of God and, as with his son, Jesus, God is pleased with us. It’s not what anything we do, it’s all about who we are.

Feel his smile shining down on you.

Feel his unconditional love.

Feel his forgiveness for any guilt that is weighing heavy on your shoulders.

Feel his peace flow over you in a supernatural way.

Feel his strength flow through you as he walks right beside you each day.

Let his joy fill your heart today.

Don’t DO anything.  Just feel the pleasure he has as he looks at you.  He sees himself in you.  We are all created in his image, yet each one of us reflects different aspects of him – making us all uniquely his.

I am important to God.  He has made me special.

You are very important to him.  He has made you special.

And he is pleased.

Thank you, Abba Father.