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.

He is Looking for You

Our country is going crazy, right?

It’s frustrating.  It makes us angry,

bitter,

and disillusioned.

So – what am I doing about it?  What are you doing about it?

Are we busy just talking about it and shaking our heads?  Are we spouting off negativity to everyone around us and filling Facebook with our rants?

Or are we doing something positive to help turn the trend one small step at a time?

When Israel was going down the tubes thousands of years ago, God told Ezekiel, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:30.

God was looking for someone – anyone – who would build a wall against the injustice that was happening.  A wall that would help keep out the lies and violence. God was looking for someone to stand in the gap before him on behalf of the Israelite people.  “But I found no one.”

Is this same thing happening today?  Is it all just talk and emotion? 

Or are you and I figuring out how to do our part in standing in the gap for our country before God?

We can stand in the gap by daily praying to God for our country.

We can stand in the gap by putting our feet and hearts into action while working together with God to help turn our country back into the land which was founded with “In God We Trust”. One step at a time. Each of us can create a small ripple that can grow into a wave when we all get involved.

My family and friends have created the David Glasser Foundation in honor of my son, a Phoenix Police Officer, who was killed in the line of duty May 18, 2016. It has been evident right from the beginning that God’s hand is on this foundation. The mission of the foundation is to create and sponsor opportunities for kids and their families to have positive interactions with police officers. We believe if the young man who killed my son had had positive interactions with a police officer, he may have made a different decision on that day. We are passionate about creating a ripple as we continue the legacy of love that my son started.

Not everyone can start a foundation but each one of us can be part of a ripple. God has a purpose for all of us – if we’ll stand in the gap.

I’m here, standing in the gap, Abba Father.

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.

Growing My Roots

“They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,

a planting of the Lord,

a display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 3.

I want to be an Oak of Righteousness.  A planting of the Lord.

May my life display even a tiny portion of his splendor!

God points out to us in Isaiah 61 what it means to be an Oak of Righteousness.  As I read the beginning of this chapter, it relates directly to our culture today.

Today, God’s Oaks of Righteousness are leading the way in their own spheres of influence in helping to reverse the tide of moral decay of our culture. They are working to strengthen our families and are sharing the love and truth of God to the people around them. They are so dedicated to God’s work that they refuse to get distracted by the mess and confusion of the world around us.

God is calling each one of us who are serious about our faith to rise up and be an Oak of Righteousness where he has planted us.

Yes – I can point fingers at politicians and lawmakers.  That’s the easy way out – the blame game.

Sure – I can get upset.  I can say all kinds of things about how bad our culture has become – complain, complain.

But what part of this do I own? And what am I doing about it?

What are you doing about the part God has given you?

How often am I talking to God about it, asking him to point out my next step in making a difference?

As we obey, we become a solid planting of the Lord with our roots sunk deep into His truth.  God hates wrong-doing and injustice.  He righteously fights these battles using us when we are in line with him.

God promises that our obedience will bring us double portions of his blessing and everlasting joy.    He extends these blessings to our children (awesome) and tells us that we will be acknowledged as ‘the people the Lord has blessed’. (vs 9).

Amen, let it be so, Abba Father.

Wasted Time

I only have so much time here on this planet – I shouldn’t waste it.  If there is one lesson that has been engraved on my mind these last few years, it’s ‘Life is short”.

I truly never knew how extremely short life can be until my son was killed.  One moment he was here and the next he was gone.

My life flipped upside down in that one moment.

Life is short – I have no time to waste.

Just like Jonah – he had no time to waste.  So it’s a little frustrating to read about Jonah going through his big drama of disobeying God’s direction to go to Ninevah.  Jonah decided to go the other direction, got caught on a ship in a big storm, was thrown overboard by sailors and spent 3 days in a huge fish at the bottom of the ocean.  It was there that he repented and reached out to God. (bottom of the ocean, end of our rope – sound familiar?)

Jonah used a bunch of time running from God before finally deciding to obey him by going to Ninevah.   “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.  From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:2.  When Jonah turned back to him, God ordered the fish to spit Jonah out on the beach so Jonah could go ahead and do what God asked him to do in the first place.

That whole first whale trip was just a big waste of time and energy!

Wait a minute – do I do this?

Do you do this?

I have to admit that I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past disobeying God.  I ignored what I knew was right.  I did what I wanted to do and gained nothing from it.  It was useless – a waste of time.

One of my life goals now is to obey God the first time.  I want to stop wasting time and energy while disobeying.

I want to avoid getting hit by the 2×4 that eventually comes our way when we ignore the lessons God is trying to teach us. God. The issue or problem doesn’t go away when we disobey – it grows.  And it continues to grow until it’s too big and bad to ignore any longer.

Have you ever been hit by God’s 2×4 as a consequence for avoiding his directions? Have you found yourself at the end of your rope? Or stuck at the bottom of the sea like Jonah?

I have.  It’s a wake up call.  An enormous red flag pops up and starts whipping through my life.  It seems like everything starts going wrong at the same time but, in reality, this issue has been gradually building steam while I prioritized other things.  Because he is a good Father, God doesn’t ignore me when I’m trying to ignore him.  He lets the consequences of my own actions grow until it’s just like getting hit by a 2×4.  By then, the issue has become too enormous and too awful – I cannot continue to look the other way.  Newsflash from God – attitudes and behaviors and priorities need to change – and they need to change NOW!

I got it, God!  I have learned my lesson and I intend to obey right away from now on.  No more 2×4’s in my life if I can help it!

I have also learned that obedience up front, the first time, brings additional blessings of peace and strength that come from being in line with God and in step with the Spirit.

Obeying right away is never a waste of time.

Thank you for teaching me this important lesson, Abba Father.

No Such Thing

There are no ‘good witches’. This is one of the lies that permeates our culture. We all see these fictitious characters in movies and TV shows doing good things for people or cleaning their house with a twitch of their nose.

No one can be a ‘good witch’ because there are two major supernatural forces in our world – good versus evil, God versus Satan. God is very clear in his Word that witches do not get any power they have from him. God does not speak through Ouija boards or seances – he speaks through his Word. So that leaves just one place where witches or any of these things can get their supernatural power – Satan. And Satan is never good.

Satan is the great Deceiver and the Father of Lies. He can make something bad look like it’s okay. He can twist the truth just slightly to make it a very convincing lie. He can use something that looks good to bring about a bad result. Make no mistake – evil intentions lie under everything Satan does.

The story in the Bible of King Saul going to the Witch of Endor is a sad story with a interesting twist. The enormous Philistine army was approaching and Saul was terrified. He ‘inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer by dreams, or Urim or prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6. Saul was regularly disobeying God at this time, so God stopped answering him. Why give Saul an answer if he’s not going to obey? Sometimes God will stop answering us, too, if we continue to ask but are not being obedient to what he has already told us.

In the past, Samuel had helped Saul listen and obey God, but Samuel had died. Saul wanted to talk with Samuel so he went to the Witch of Endor. The witch did her normal ‘consulting the spirits’ act but then screamed when she saw Samuel appear. Why did she scream? She obviously did not expect someone to actually come back from the dead – she was used to making it all up.

And Samuel wasn’t happy about being disturbed. That makes sense. He was enjoying heaven and suddenly he’s back on earth having to deal with Saul’s fear and lack of trust in God.

Samuel told Saul because he continued to be disobedient, God was going to do what he said – take away Saul’s kingdom.

And the next day Saul and his three sons were dead.

In this instance, God worked through a witch in order to achieve his purposes. But she was not a ‘good witch’.

Don’t be deceived.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2022

Hear my prayers, Father, and show me your compassion.  I will hide myself in your shadow until my fears and worries go away.

I ask that you fulfill your purposes for my life.  I know the angels of heaven are fighting my battles and they will give me victory.

Your love and faithfulness never leave me, Father.

I am surrounded by the evil one who is trying to take pieces of me and devour me.

But I still praise you, God.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

My enemy sets traps for me – especially when I am weary and distressed.  The evil one digs deep pits in my path but then he falls into them himself.

I am confident in you, oh God.  My heart sings your praises.  I awake every morning with a song of praise to you.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness which has no end.

I praise you, Father.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

Psalm 63, 2022

O God, you are my God.  I am searching for you with all my heart.

My soul needs you.  My whole being longs to be close to you in this empty, weary and very confused world.  I treasure the precious time I get to spend with you.

I have personally witnessed your power and glory.  I praise you for your love which makes this life worth living.

I will lift my hands and heart up to you in praise for as long as I live.  Only you can fill the emptiness inside of me and make me sing for joy.

In the darkest part of the night, I remember how much you have loved me in the past and how much you have promised to love me in the future.  My heart sings for joy as I cling to your promises and feel your arms around me, holding me safe and securely to your side.

The Evil One and his team are all around me, Father, trying to ruin me.  But I know you are fighting my battles, God, and you have already won the war.

I rejoice in you, God.  All who know the Truth know you.  Liars will be silenced.

I will lift my praise to you for the rest of my life, Abba Father.

Psalm 34, 2022

God is good – all the time!

I will share this great news with everyone I know.  Everyone needs to hear this – there is no one and no thing that compares to the LORD!

Say it with me – God is good, all the time!

When I talk to God, he answers me and takes my fears away.

The light of God’s love shines out of us, his children, and we are never ashamed.  When we are lost in a pile of problems that we created, we can call on God who rescues us.  His angel protects us and sets us free!

Try him and see!  God is good!

My Father God is a safe haven and a provider for me and for everyone who has faith in him.  Those who look strong on the outside are actually weak and empty on the inside if they don’t have faith in God.

God’s children have everything they need.

Listen to me –

respect and honor the LORD and you will live a life filled with good days.  Stay away from lying and all evil.  Be a peacemaker.

God watches over those who do what is right.  He hears our cries.  God is always close to the brokenhearted.

But God turns his face away from those who do evil.

When we have faith in God, we will still have trials but God walks beside us every step of the way – giving us peace and strength.

The wicked get what they deserve.  The LORD condemns anyone who opposes the people who love him.

God rescues his children – he is a safe refuge that is always available to us.

We praise you, Abba Father, for you are good!

Caving In

Or should I call it making the ‘popular’ choice?

In 1 Samuel, Saul disobeyed God by keeping some of the ‘stuff’ that they took from the Amalekites after defeating them.  When Samuel pointed this out to Saul, Saul rationalized the sin by telling Samuel that they did this so they could give the best of the sheep and cattle to God.

Samuel then tells Saul,” Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD?….Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:22,23.

Well, THEN Saul admitted that the real reason he kept the plunder was because he was afraid of how his men would react if he destroyed it all like God wanted him to do.

The bottom-line in this story is Saul didn’t trust God.  He didn’t believe God had his back.  He got all wrapped up in being a hotshot king that everyone looked up to and he didn’t want to put any of this hero-worship into jeopardy.

So Saul made the ‘popular’ choice rather than the obedient one.

Do I ever do that?  Do you ever do that? Are we ever more concerned about what other people think than what God thinks?  Do we fail to take the more Godly position on issues sometimes because it may not go over well with others? 

We probably all do, sometimes without realizing it.

If my goal is to be obedient to God, I’m going to need to make what God thinks a higher priority than what people around me think.

Pleasing God trumps popularity here on earth – every time.

Please help me show my love for you and faith in you by obeying you, Abba Father.