Transformation

Changing me.

Growing me.

That’s what God is doing.

Paul tells us in Romans 12, “Don’t copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”

God is in the process of gradually transforming me from the inside out by changing the way I think.  As I continue to read, study and memorize God’s word, his truth takes over more and more of my brain.  His Word is becoming the basis of where my thoughts come from.

I’ve had people ask me how I can be so bold in talking and writing about my faith all the time.  It doesn’t seem bold to me – it’s how I think.

Paul also says to us, ” Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Love this!

It’s like tuning in an old radio – as I dial into the signal, God’s voice becomes clearer and more distinct.  God is aligning my thoughts more closely to his.  One of my favorite prayers is asking God to help me love the things he loves and hate the things he hates.

When my thinking is lines up with God’s, he can reveal his plans and purposes – his perfect will.

I’m still a work in progress – the transformation is ongoing.  But the mystery of how to clearly hear God’s voice is solved –

get close to him.

Love you, Abba Father.

Abba, Father

I am adopted.

God is my father.

I have known this all of my life because my earthly parents raised me in a Christian home.  But this means more to me now than it ever has because both of my biological parents have gone home to heaven.  My earthly father went to heaven when I was only 21 years old and my mother went home 15 years ago.

I remember flying home from my mother’s funeral feeling like I was a 47 year-old orphan.  I was very close to my mother and it felt like my anchor had been let loose.  I was drifting.

Until I remembered that my Father God had not left me behind.  He had been my heavenly Father my whole life and then he also became my earthly Father when I was 21 and now he became my only parent on earth.  He is and always will be my anchor.

That’s how I feel about him.  He is here, guiding me and loving me.  My perfect parent.

Paul says to us in Romans 8, “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father’. For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.”

Amen!  I hear God telling me I am his child and I feel his arms wrapping around me in confirmation.  His Spirit joins with mine in the depths of my soul, confirming that I am his daughter for eternity.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Disappointed

Extremely disappointed.

In the past, that was how I often felt when I observed the behaviors of some people who call themselves Christians.  Disappointed.  It was hard not to question what ‘having faith’ meant when Christians were gossiping, using profanity, lying and basically not looking any different than the unbelieving world around us.

Where’s the transformation?

Where is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is alive inside of us?

The fact that I wasn’t impressed by many Christian’s behavior kept me from seriously working on my relationship with Christ.  What’s the use?

I was stuck in that thinking for a while until my husband gave me a word of truth that entirely flipped my perspective.  He said, “Judy, you need to get your eyes off of people and focus on Jesus.”

Bam!  He was so right!  I was being stalled in growing in my faith by looking at the faults of people instead of using Jesus’ role-model as my guide.

Paul reminds us in Romans 3 that God is always faithful.  “Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.”

After refocusing, I no longer have Christians up on a pedestal.  My expectations of the behavior of Christians has become more reasonable – we are all people who need God’s grace living in a broken world.  Yes, even pastors and leaders in the church are in need of God’s grace.

One of the reasons God sent Jesus to earth was to give us a real live example of how we should live.  I have started focusing on Jesus and his behavior, not people.  Jesus is perfect, people definitely aren’t.  Other Christians will disappoint me, hurt me and they might say and do things that are not helpful or even true.

Since I’ve gotten my eyes set on Jesus, I know my response to these disappointing behaviors needs to be grace, love and forgiveness.  Christians are also called to hold each other accountable – with love and truth.   That’s what Jesus did as he constantly had to deal with the ‘humanness’ of his disciples.

Jesus is my role-model.  He perfectly balanced love and truth.  He is forever faithful and trustworthy.

He never disappoints.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Made Right

Do you feel it?

Paul tells us in Romans, “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.”

Through my faith in Jesus, I am ‘made right’ in God’s eyes.  I have been adopted as God’s daughter and given a free ride into heaven by his grace –

not because of anything I’ve done, in spite of the things I have done.

I know, it’s hard to really accept God’s grace.  It feels like I should be trying to be ‘good enough’ to earn it.  All of the religions of the world except Christianity instruct their followers on how to earn a ticket to heaven.

But I know it’s impossible for me to earn it.  I can’t be ‘good enough’ on my own.

So Jesus paid the price for me.

And I live my life in gratitude to my Father God for making the Way possible for me.  Anything good that I do comes from being thankful for what Jesus did for me.  I want to please my Father God and shine his light of love on others whenever possible.

As the sun rises each morning, I feel God’s love and acceptance as he wraps his arms around me when, with my Bible open on my lap, God and I get together for our ‘morning talks.’  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have been ‘made right’ by Jesus.

Do you feel it?

Thank you, Abba Father.

My World Shook

My world turn upside down and inside out when my son, David Glasser, was killed in the line of duty.

The sun didn’t shine as brightly after he was killed and the nights were much darker.  The emptiness was consuming, the loss overwhelming.

Yes, my world shook to its core.

Paul writes to the Thessalonians that he is sending Timothy to them to ‘strengthen you, to encourage you in you faith and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through.”

I can relate.

The only thing that didn’t shake when Davey was killed was my faith.  God kept me solidly planted beside him as the rest of my life quaked around me.  God held me secure as everything flipped and crumbled and blew up.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Paul goes on to say, “But you know that we are destined for such troubles.”

I hear you, God.  I’m not done with having troubles as long as I live on this broken planet.  There will be more.

There are more.

And I have learned that the only response to ‘troubles’ that works is to trust and obey.  God has a purpose and a plan.  God is in control and nothing is impossible for him.  He loves me and wants the best for me.  These are facts that don’t change because of my circumstances.  It’s the truth even when I don’t understand it.

Amen.  So be it.

It Makes Sense….

that it doesn’t make sense.

Paul says to us in Galatians, “I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning.  I received my message from no human source and no one taught me.”

The Bible has a supernatural message that people without the Holy Spirit living inside of them cannot understand.  It doesn’t make sense to them because it’s ‘from no human source.’

So you and I can’t let the fact that other people ‘don’t get it’ distract us or confuse us or make us doubt the wisdom and guidance we receive from God as we read the Bible.

God speaks through his Word.

He talks to me.

He stops me when he wants me to take some extra time thinking about a certain section of his Word – like the verses I mentioned here.

I am so grateful that the Bible is not like any other book on earth.  Other books I have read inspire me but I’ve never heard my Father’s voice in my head reading me the words when he wants to draw specific attention to something.  Other authors have insight and experience that have helped me and encouraged me but none of them have the wisdom that God has.  Some authors have great imaginations and clever plot changes but none of that is the truth coming straight from the Creator of the Universe.

Only the Bible has His voice.

Only the Bible has a direct revelation from Him.

Thank you for your Word, Abba Father.

This Can’t Be Good

This is not going to turn out well.

These thoughts often go through my head when things happen in my life that I don’t like, didn’t plan for and I know they are going to be difficult to deal with.

But I have learned, these events look very different when I look at them through a rear view mirror.   I realize that- every time- these tough experiences took me in a new direction where God wanted to bless me.  I’ve had several situations happen in my life which took years of work to maneuver through only to realize that God had a long line of blessings waiting for me on the other side.  I’m trusting God right now that the same thing will happen in relation to the death of my son.  Because of the great loss here on earth, I know there’s a good chance that I won’t realize those blessings until I’m sitting at the feet of my Father in heaven.  But it will happen.

I’m sure the new Christians in Acts thought that the wave of persecution which began after the Holy Spirit came to them was a very bad thing.  Christians were hunted down and killed by people like Saul whose name later changed to Paul.

The persecution separated the Christians and send them out through the regions of Judea and Samaria.

“But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.”

Do you see what I see?  What Satan meant for evil, God used for good.  It’s certainly not the plan for evangelism that anyone would pick, but it worked.  People all over the country heard about the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ because of the growing hostility to Christians.

It didn’t look good, but God used it for good.

This is how I choose to look at tough situations in my life.   God can bring something good from it.

He always has.

He always will.

Thank you, Abba Father.

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, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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 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 specific words and he was never baptized.  Jesus knew his 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 a Phoenix Police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  Parts of my life crumbled.  My hopes and dreams for him were stripped away.  All of his future disappeared, leaving gaping holes full of hurt in my world.

And 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.”

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 how it all shakes out.  My prayer is that my sharing this with you will help strengthen you when you are sifted.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

The Way to Peace

Where is peace?

The way to peace is illusive.  It’s hard to find.  If you find it, it’s hard to keep.  One text, one thought, one facial expression and – poof!- it’s gone.

I’ve found that it’s easier to feel peaceful in the mountains or at the beach – closer to God’s creation.  Many of us flock to those places on vacation…….looking to have a good time and, possibly, a few moments of peace and calm.

Jesus wept for Jerusalem in Luke 19 while saying, “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.  But now it is too late, the peace is hidden from your eyes.”

The Good News for us is that peace is not hidden from our eyes.  Jesus is the way.  Jesus can give us the internal peace that nothing else – including the mountains and the beach – can give.

When we look to Jesus for peace, we will find it.

Thank you, Jesus.