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.

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.

There is Danger

On my trip to Israel 8 years ago, we visited a village in Nazareth which is set up to show us what it looked like when Jesus lived there.

nn watching over Nazareth

A watchman was placed on the hill overlooking the village and the land surrounding it.  Their responsibility was to call out warnings or sound a trumpet to tell the people of the village when they saw possible danger approaching.

God explains what a spiritual watchman’s duties are in Ezekiel 33: 17-20.  “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will be saved yourself.”

What does this mean for us today?

We don’t have watchmen……or, do we?

As I read this, God reminds me that I am a watchman for the people he has placed in my sphere of influence.  I know the truth.  And I know the danger of eternal separation from God if a person doesn’t accept salvation through Jesus Christ.  So I must say something. I cannot be silent.

I wish it was as easy as sounding trumpet.  It’s much harder today to warn others of danger coming their way.  Our culture is more independent than that of the Israelites and many people don’t understand that God still holds us accountable for each other.  Those of us who know the truth need to share it with others.  Those of us that know the danger of not accepting God’s free gift of salvation need to talk to the people around us about the Gospel that sets us free – eternally free.

So how do I make sure I’m fulfilling my responsibility as a watchman?  I have found that the easiest way is to share my own experience – stories of what God has done in my life. I bring God into the conversation as often as I can, talking about what he has done for me in the past and what he is doing in my life today. I share how God’s love and grace is the central theme of my life, giving me purpose and peace.

I have a great role model in Jesus who used equal measures of grace and truth.  He didn’t judge people (except for the religious leaders who should have known better).  He didn’t condemn people who didn’t believe he was the Son of God.  He spoke truth with love every chance he got.  He communicated in ways that the people around him could hear.  And understand. 

So they could avoid the danger of being separated from God for eternity.

Thank you, dear Jesus.  Please help me do the same.

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.

It Makes a Difference

My life is short.

My life is fragile.

My life is a tiny flicker of light that can be extinguished in an instant.

I was strongly reminded of this again two weeks ago when my husband had emergency open-heart bypass surgery after experiencing a ‘lethal event’ with his heart. It could have easily killed him. That could have been it. The end.

He’s still alive because it just wasn’t his day – the day God has already chosen for each of us as our last day here on earth.

That wasn’t ‘it’ – he’s still here – but it could have been.

Short.

Fragile.

God tells us through Isaiah that ‘Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40: 7 & 8.

Forever.

When I sit here with my Bible open on my lap, I am letting the only truth of all the ages soak into my mind. God’s Word has been the one thing that is right and good since time began. How amazing that this is so readily available to me every hour of every day!

It’s available to you, too.

How amazing that the Eternal Creator of the Universe speaks to me personally through these words!

He wants to speak to you, too.

How amazing that this entire book is a love story written to me by God. It’s God’s revelation of how much he loves me –

and how much he loves you.

My life is short and fragile and just a small flicker of light in the big picture. I’m so glad I know my Father God sees me as his precious daughter who is so important to him that he made a way that I could live with him in my forever home in heaven.

He made a way that you could live with him forever in heaven, too.

My life may be short and fragile but I’m important to God….

and that makes all the difference.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Who?

Who are we imitating?

Who are we following?

‘Following’ has a different definition today because of social media.  But it still refers to our choice of people that we are letting have an influence on our lives.

These are the people we are giving permission to enter our minds and thoughts because we’re reading and listening to what they are sharing.  We are ‘following’ their lives.

Who are these people in your life? Are they the right people to help you grow where you want to grow?

Who are these people in my life? Are they leading me to places I should go? Are they helping me grow my integrity?  Are they helping me become more wise?  More caring?

The Israelites were not careful about who they followed. “They rejected his (God’s) decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statues he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. ” 2 Kings 17: 15 – 16.

Wow – worthless.

They picked the wrong things to follow. They imitated the wrong things and ended up on a very bad path.

That is not a path I want to be on.

Please give me wisdom in deciding who to follow, 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.

He is Good

As the sun rises each morning, I am reminded,

 God is good.

Every time I look at the faces of my grandchildren who start smiling when they are still super teeny, I am reminded,

 God is good.

My husband, Dave, and I are celebrating 41 years of marriage next week and I am reminded,

God is good.

My calendar is filled with good times and special moments with people I love and I am reminded,

    God is good.

I am completely confident in this truth –

   My God is good.

During the dedication of the Lord’s Temple in 1 Kings, we read that “The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord.  Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: 

    “He is good; his love endures forever.”  2 Chron. 5:13.

I smile when I think about how  my voice saying “God is good”  joins with an enormous crowd of people who have praised and loved God down through the ages.  When I say these words, I am joining with all believers through all of history.  I hear the angels praising God with us, filling the heavens with gratitude through all eternity.

These words were true back when King Solomon built the temple and they remain true today.  When I became absolutely convinced that God is good, peace filled my soul  The truth is, no matter how bad or crazy or painful things in my life or in your life look or feel, God is good.  Our circumstances do not change this fact.

   God is good; his love endures forever.

Thank you, Abba Father.