I want to be…

like the Samaritan Leper.

He came back to Jesus after Jesus healed him.  He came back praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.  He was one of ten lepers that Jesus healed in Luke 17 as he travelled to Jerusalem.  Jesus healed them all and this man was the only one that came back to say thank you.

Jesus had redeemed the leper’s life from pain and death.  And the leper came back to show his gratitude for what Jesus had done for him.

Jesus has done the same thing for me.   He redeemed me from hopelessness, death and eternal separation from the only source of good things in this universe – our Father God.

After reading this passage many years, ago, I decided to start all of my prayers with thanking God for who he is and what he has done for me.  I still do this today and I find it puts me in the right mindset to have great conversations with God.  He has already done so much for me – lavishing his love on me, forgiving my rebellion and self-centeredness, pouring his blessings down on me, giving me purpose and peace…..I could go on.  So starting every prayer with ‘thank you’ helps me avoid the trap of treating him like Santa Claus and going down my list of ‘prayer requests’.

For the rest of my life here on this planet, I will be like the leper who came back to say ‘thank you’.  I will live my life in gratitude to God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

 

Not Alone

I don’t know how I missed it.  Maybe it was never included in the children’s version of this story.

It’s a well-known Biblical account. Three men refused to worship the evil king’s golden idol so the king threw them into a blazing furnace.  The furnace was so hot that it killed the soldiers who got close enough to throw the men in.

Here’s a detail of the story that I missed until I started reading the entire Chronological Bible each year. The king looked into the furnace and saw 4 men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed.

4 men – not 3.

The king called the 4th person an angel.  I believe it was Jesus, sent by God to protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  They walked through the fire together.

The fire didn’t stop when the three men were thrown in.

The king didn’t change his mind at the last minute.

An army of angels didn’t swoop down from heaven to save the day.

God had an unimaginable number of ways he could have saved these 3 men.  He chose to send a personal rescuer into the fire with them.  Jesus walked with them – just like he walks with us when we are in the middle of a fire in our lives.

Our fires can look like failure….

grief……

disease……

disappointment….

betrayal…..

the list goes on.

My biggest personal fire was when my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  All of my expectations of what the rest of my life looked like were destroyed on that day.  The flames of that fire are still burning up pieces of my life, leaving mountains of painful ash behind.

But Jesus was there.   And he is here as I continue to walk on this very tough road piled high with grief and loss.

I have discovered that, as I remain faithful in the fire, God is using this time to grow my trust, grow my perseverance and grow my faith.

My loss and pain will not go away this side of heaven but God has given me peace and a purpose.  I’m thankful for the opportunities he gives me to share what I am learning about God’s faithfulness as he walks with me daily,

in the middle of the fire.

Thank you, Abba Father. 

Struggling With Adversity

Have you been there?

I have.  I am still struggling with the most extreme adversity I have ever experienced.  On May 18, 2016 my world exploded.  My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on that day.

I have experienced quite a lot of death in my life but this is – by far – the hardest.

Davey was a unique young man who was dedicated to serving his community and dedicated to living life to its fullest with fun, going everywhere and anywhere, while collecting a vast number of friendships. He did all of this with an obvious devotion and love for his family.  My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his wife and 2 children the last 5 years of his life.  We talked with him daily and saw him almost every day for one reason or another.

I don’t have the words for how painful this last 2 1/2 years has been.  It defines adversity.

As I begin to read the book of Job, I look forward to reading Job’s story as he deals with all the terrible things that happen to him.   He had people saying strange and wrong things to him.  I can relate.  He had more tough things that happened to him after the first big shock.  I can relate.  He questioned God and wondered why this was all happening to him.  I can relate.  He was overwhelmed with sorrow.  I can relate.

Job was confident that his redeemer lives and – in the end – he wins.  I can relate.  He knew that God was in total control and all-powerful.  I can relate.  He  understood that he would never totally understand God.  I can relate.

Job committed his life to being faithful to God in spite of his circumstances.  He praised God in the middle of all of the pain he was experiencing.  I can relate.  He knew that is was wise to turn from evil and love God.  I can relate.

Job had a long conversation with God.  I can relate – I have had many long conversations with God about my son’s death.  Job confessed that he did not understand.  I can relate – I will never completely understand this.  Job’s eyes were opened in a new way to the reality that God has a plan and purpose for each of us and that God’s ways are not our ways.  I can relate.

God gave Job peace in the middle of his pain and blessed him.

I can relate.

I love you, Abba Father. 

I want to be…

like the Samaritan Leper.

He came back to Jesus after Jesus healed him.  He came back praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

He was one of ten lepers that Jesus healed in Luke 17 as he travelled to Jerusalem.

Jesus healed them all.

This man was the only one that came back to say thank you.

Jesus had redeemed the leper’s life from pain and death.  And the leper came back to show his gratitude for what Jesus had done for him.

Jesus did the same thing for you and me.  He redeemed our lives from pain, death and eternal separation from the only source of good things in this universe – our Father God.

For the rest of our lives here on this planet, let our first response be gratitude to God.

Dear Jesus, We are very grateful for all of the things you are and for what you have done for us.  Help us live lives full of gratitude, counting the blessings we have received from you each day.  Thank you.  In your redeeming name we pray, Amen.

Built on the Rock

This is the season when many of you are storm-proofing your houses.  Preparing for winter.  I grew up in Northwest Iowa so I know all about winter.  In Iowa, we also had to storm-proof our cars with better lubricants, snow tires and radiator heaters that we could plug-in every night.

Now that I live in Phoenix, we don’t need to do any storm-proofing except for making sure our air conditioners are in top shape before summer begins.

Jesus tells us that a wise person storm-proofs their life by building it on the Rock.  And Jesus is that Rock.October 27 2014 Built on the Rock

So when the rains of disappointment, grief and sadness pour down, our house will stand.

When the streams of hurt and lies and pain rise, our house will stand.

And when the winds of anger, hate and confusion beat upon our house, it does not fall.   Because its foundation is built upon the Rock.

Jesus says that a foolish person will build their house on sand and their house will crash down when the storm comes.  He says we are this foolish person if we hear his words and don’t put them into practice.

The storm is coming – it may already be blowing into your life – is your foundation ready?

Jesus tells us exactly what to do to storm-proof our lives.  We need to listen to him and obey.

Today is the day.  There is no better time than right now.

Dear Father, please guide us in building our lives upon the Rock.