The Unknowns

It has been hard in the past to make decisions about next steps when I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  There have been times in my life when the ‘unknowns’ created a lot of anxiety and fear.

I love reading about Abram’s (soon to be Abraham) decision-making in Genesis.  First, God tells Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”  Genesis 12:1. 

No forwarding address on that one.  Just go.  I’ll tell you when to stop.

And the Bible tells us in verse 4, “So Abram went.” Wow! Abram is a good role-model here for how much he trusted God.

This is my 11th year of reading the entire Bible and it is comforting to realize how much my faith and trust in God has grown as I’ve read and applied God’s word to my life. I experienced something  similar to Abram’s 2 years ago when God told me to move from Phoenix to Denver.  What?  I had been living in Phoenix for over 40 years and had never once thought about moving to Denver even though my daughter and her family were now living there. 

I prayed about it overnight and knew that I needed to do what God was asking me to do.  I have learned from experience that the only way I can expect God’s blessings in my life is to be obedient.

Then I shared what God was saying with my husband who prayed about it and the next day he said, “We need to go.”  He has also learned the importance of obedience. 

We heard and we went.

We put our house in Phoenix up for sale and I heard God telling me not to buy a house in Denver until we actually moved.  So we moved while our house was under contract and arrived in Denver on March 17, 2020 – just as everything was shutting down because of the pandemic. 

We know you’ve got this, Father God.

We were ‘homeless’ during the weeks of being sheltered in.  The first house we looked at in Denver was the right size and the right price and the right place and God said ‘yes’ so we bought it – getting a great deal on it since a lot of people were backing away from buying houses because of the uncertainty.

We knew you had something good waiting for us, Father.

These last 2 years, I have continually seen God’s hand on our lives.  There have been many situations – one after another – where I know God moved us to Denver ‘for such a time as this’.  He had a purpose for bringing us to this new city and he had blessings lined up if we would obey.

I have discovered that it’s not so hard anymore making decisions when I don’t know how it’s all going to work out.  God knows and I trust him.  I don’t experience the anxiety or fear I used to have because I know God is in control and he is working it all out for my good.  I just need to listen and do what he says.

Thank you for taking away my fear of the unknowns, Abba Father.

My Fears

What am I afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

This world can be a very scary place with evil lurking around every corner.  The worst can happen in an instant –

I’ve been there.  It’s indescribably shocking and painful.

So it seems logical that you and I would be afraid….. until we read what Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 8, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” vs 26.

Wow!  Jesus directly correlates the fact that they are afraid to how much faith they have.  He is saying the same thing to you and I today.  Through his Word, God is telling us that our fears mean we’re not trusting him.

After thinking about this for a while, I have accepted that this is very true for me.  When I am worried, I am not trusting God.  The amount of my fear is a clear indication of the lack of my faith because I know God is in control.  He has a plan and purpose.  There is nothing that happens to me that has not gone through his hands.

So what am I afraid of?

My worst fear – that something bad would happen to one of my children – has already come true for both of them.  My daughter got cancer and my son was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty 5 years ago.

What a huge waste of time and effort fear is!  It didn’t change anything that has happened to them or to me.

God has used these difficult experiences to teach me many things.  One of them is to lay my worries and fears at God’s feet and leave them there.  He is the only one who can do anything about them.  The question is not ‘if’ something bad is going to happen to me again, the question is ‘when’.  My faith in God’s goodness has grown to the point that I’m prepared for the next struggle, not fearful.

It’s a fact that God loves me and wants the best for me.  He is faithful to walk beside me when bad things happen, giving me strength and helping me grow my trust in him.

Jesus said it thousands of years ago and it’s still true today – fear comes from a lack of faith.

Watch and Wait

When I see something that needs to done or fixed, my first inclination is to make a plan, figure it out and get it done. Are you a ‘fixer’ like me?

God regularly stops me and tells me there is a better way. He challenges me to bring the issue that is bothering me to him and let him take care of it. He promises that the outcome will be better if I let him take control.

So I have to smile as I read Zechariah’s story in the book of Luke.  Zechariah was a priest. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were old and childless when the angel of the LORD appeared to him.  Yes, Gabriel showed up again.

Zechariah was “gripped with fear” when he saw Gabriel.  Angels like Gabriel must be awesome creatures because the first thing they always say to us humans is, “Fear not”. Then Gabriel went on to tell Zechariah that he and Elizabeth were going to have a son who was going to do great things for God. They were to name this son John and he was going to prepare the way for the Messiah.

Immediately, Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Luke 1:18. He and his wife were obviously way too old to have a baby.

Gabriel looked at him (how I see this in my head – rolled his eyes and, with a hint of frustration in his voice), said, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God and I have been sent to speak to you and tell you this good news. Now you will be silent and not speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will be come true at their appointed time.” Luke 1:18.

Zechariah could not speak again until the baby was born. He had to watch and wait.

I have learned that sometimes I need to stop asking questions, trust God and watch him work things out for my good right in front of my eyes – through his power and on his own timeline. 

I’m not very patient. How much patience do you have?

It can be very difficult for me to wait for God to move but, when he does, it’s the right thing at the right time, every time.  It’s truly amazing to watch as God opens doors, moves mountains and orchestrates blessings in my life.  

I’ll admit, this hasn’t been an easy lesson for me to learn. I had to grow my trust in God to the point where I can give him my problems, issues and situations and leave it all in his hands. And watch. And wait until he shows me which door he is opening for me.

It’s not easy but – believe me – it’s worth it.

Thank you, Abba Father.

What Am I Supposed to do?

When the path right in front of me looks like its straight up hill.

When the issue confronting me is big

and confusing

and scary

and heart-breaking.

When I am threatened on all sides by more problems, more sadness, more darkness.

What am I supposed to do?

please-strengthen-my-hands

When Nehemiah found himself in this type of situation, he turned to God and prayed “Now strengthen my hands.”(6:9)

Nehemiah had groups of powerful people plotting against him as he led the Jews in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.  His enemies were trying to frighten the Jews so their hands would become too weak to continue to work on the wall.  But God answered Nehemiah’s prayers and the wall was eventually finished.

Is there something in your life that looks like its impossible to accomplish?  Impossible to fix?

Give it to God.  Ask him to strengthen your hands and then trust that he is answering.  He may use you like he did Nehemiah to actually orchestrate the answer.  Or  he may want your strong hands to be folded in prayer before him, admitting your dependence on him and remaining faithful while he works all things out for your good.

Either way,  God’s got this.

Please strengthen my hands, Abba Father.

Revealer of Mysteries

I don’t understand everything I read in the Bible.  I know I will never understand everything I read in the Bible.  It’s very interesting to watch God reveal different truths to me each time I read it. Was that always in there? How did I miss that before? When God does this, I have discovered that is usually an answer to a question I have asked him.

Daniel called God the Revealer of Mysteries.  As Daniel started to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream for him, he said , “As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.” Daniel 2:29.

There are many mysteries in our lives that we would like to have answers for, aren’t there?

Why am I here?

Why is this happening?

What am I supposed to do?

Should I go through this door?

I have discovered that God has all the answers to these mysteries. When I trust him, he reveals what I need to know when I need to know it. If I’m feeling like I need an answer right now and I don’t have it, I focus all of my attention on God and he always responds. Often I realize that God was trying to give me direction but it was so different than what I expected that I had overlooked it.

I know I’m moving down the right path when I’m heading towards God.  I’m on the right road when I’m trusting that he will explain what I need to know when I need to know it.

As my trust in God grows, I have found that the number of mysteries in my life shrinks.  He is always speaking to me – loving me, guiding me and pointing out my next step just at the right time – not a day early.

The Revealer of Mysteries proves over and over that he has it all under control.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Not Like Me

I am created in the image of God,  I am like him.

But he is not like me.

I have found this to be a crucial truth to get straight in my brain so that I have the correct expectations of God. I have to apply this every day to my relationship with God so I can avoid frustrations and confusion.

God tells me through Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isaiah 55:8.

God is perfectly holy, perfectly just, perfectly loving and always right.

I am farrrrrrrr from perfect.  I cannot judge God’s actions – whether they are right or wrong – based on what I think.  My thinking is very flawed.  It is self-centered, self-seeking and severely limited.  I don’t think like God.  I will never think like God.

So I submit to his will, his plan, his purpose.

I am totally confident in God’s goodness and his perfect love for me.  I know to the depths of my spirit that God wants the best for me.  Even though I will never understand how he thinks and why he has permitted a painful tragedy to happen in my life when my son was killed, I will trust God.  His ways are not my ways – his ways are perfect.

In response to this truth, I have decided that my way is to walk in trust and faithfulness to God for the rest of my days on this planet.  I have decided to live in gratitude for his free gift of redemption through Jesus.  I don’t question what God does or doesn’t do.  I don’t try to determine if he is right or wrong – I know he is right.  He is always walking beside me, loving me and caring for me, even when he is not doing what I think is best.  He knows better.

I trust you, Abba Father.

Psalm 25, 2021

I trust you, God.

I know you will never let me down.  Everyone who trusts knows how faithful you are.  Those who don’t trust in you get their just rewards.

Help me know you better, dear God.  Direct my steps and guide me into a deeper understanding of your truth.  Teach me, Father.  All of my hope is in you, God, my Savior.

You have been merciful and loving since the beginning of time.  I have confessed my sins and I know you have forgiven me because my guilt has disappeared.

You love overwhelms me.  You are so good, LORD.

I feel you walking beside me as I go through my day, God.  When I listen, you teach me what is right.  You are loving and faithful to those of us who have put our trust in you.

Your grace covers all of my sin and rebellion.

In response to my respect and honor for you, you help me make the right choices in my life.  You give me good things and bless my children.

I need to hear your voice, Father.  Speak to me – I need you each day.

When my eyes are fixed on you, God, you help me avoid the danger and pitfalls that come my way.  I turn to you when I am alone and sad – you take away my worries and stress.  When the trials and problems of this world press in all around me, you are always beside me – loving me and giving me strength.

You are my Rock and Refuge, Father.  Guard my life and rescue me.  I trust in you alone.

I pray that all people everywhere will experience your mercy and strength, God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Little by Little

One step at a time.

It can be difficult to trust God’s direction with my next step when I have no idea how this is going to work out.

It’s tough to persevere through each struggle, not losing sight of my Father God.

“Little by little”.  Moses uses these words as he is speaking to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land.  “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.” Exodus 23:30.

Moses also said, “You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once or the wild animals will multiply around you.”  Exodus 23:29

God did not give the Israelites victory over all of their adversaries all at once because the wild animals would have taken over the empty land.

I would love it if God would just take my trials and problems away – all of them – all at once.  Take them all away, Father!

But God doesn’t do that.  Little by little, step by step, he leads me through the struggles.  He draws me closer as together we move through the confusing and dark times.  God does not eliminate all of my issues because then I would be very tempted to count on myself and not on him.  I need to remain dependent on him or wild animals (bad choices and wrong thinking) will multiply around me.

I have found that it takes a lot of trust to move forward when I don’t know what’s ahead.  I have had to learn to take one step at a time understanding that I’m not in control but my loving Father is.  He is working all things out for my good and, little by little, I have come to a point that I am 100% confident of that.  No questions.  No doubts.

I don’t ask him any more to take away all of my problems.  Now I ask him to please walk closely beside me as I go through them.  Each day I do my part by taking a step forward keeping my eyes focused on my Father God.

He does everything else.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Donkey Talks!

Oh, wow!  Balaam’s donkey talked!

This was one of my kid’s favorite Bible stories when they were younger.  We had a book with great pictures and simple Bible stories which my children loved to have us read to them every night.

A talking Donkey doesn’t take a lot of imagination when you’re a kid.  And kids have no problem believing that the donkey was the smart one in this story.  Balaam didn’t see or wouldn’t see…but the donkey saw the angel blocking his path right away.  Kids know how distracted adults are so they’re not surprised that Balaam was clueless.

Those of us with pets often find ourselves talking to them, right?  Most of us have probably wished at some point that our pets could talk back.

I’ve never had an animal start talking to me but I’ve had unusual things happen that have opened my eyes to what God was doing around me and what he was trying to tell me.  Many of us call these ‘coincidences’ but I don’t believe in coincidences.  I call them ‘God-incidences’.  This is when God lines up the things going on around me with what I’m thinking and what I’m reading in his Word so he can tell me or show me something he wants me to know.  Not a coincidence.  It’s God moving and speaking.

Through the years, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of experience seeing God interact with my daily life in order to guide me or wake me up to what he’s doing.   So I’m not expecting my dog, Bella, to look at me and start talking any time soon.

But it could happen.

Please keep my eyes and heart open to you, Abba Father.

How Can I?

The world is crazy.  Bad things just keep happening.  I’m disappointed so often.  I’ve lost so many people I love – one person in particular who should still be here.

God tells us through James to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.’ James 1: 2 & 3.

How I can I consider it all joy?  But I’m not happy about any of it.

Ok, I know that happiness is not the same as joy.  Happiness depends on my circumstances and joy comes from the condition of my soul.  But persevering is a hard thing to do.  It’s easier to give up when the going gets tough – get frustrated, get angry, get bitter.  Our culture teaches us to choose the ‘easy’ way, the fast way, the immediate gratification way.

God says to you and to me today that these choices don’t lead to maturity and completeness.

As I look back on my ‘trials of many kinds’, I can see God working through each of them.  He guided me, he comforted me and, probably most directly affecting my faith, he taught me many things about myself and about him.

One of the major lessons he gave me was the need for me to trust him in all of it.  That was difficult to do when my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police officer was killed in the line of duty 4 1/2 years ago.  As I leaned on God through this tragedy, I gradually learned to filter everything through these facts I know are true about God:

God is good, all the time.

God loves me with a perfect love and nothing is impossible for him.

God wants the best for me and he is working all things out for my good.

I have persevered through this tragedy, standing on these truths about God with a huge hole in my life and a heart broken into a million pieces.  Somehow this is the best for me.  Somehow God is working this all out for good for me.  I have learned a lot about trusting God on a whole new level – even when it doesn’t make sense.

God has been seriously working on maturing my faith.  Trusting him with all of this has deepened my love for him and helped me have a better understanding of how dependent I am on him.  I’ve been changed.  My eyes are refocused on God and my ‘forever home’ with him.

Trusting God, I have decided to persevere and grow my faith through my trials with him by my side.  He knows what’s best.

I trust you, Abba Father.