I See His Work

What do you do in a thunderstorm? Check out the clouds? Watch the wind rip through the trees? Count the seconds between the flash of the lightening and the roll of thunder?

I recently spent a week by Lake Okoboji in Iowa which is near where I grew up. It’s a beautiful lake surrounded by lots of vacation homes, condos and hotels. One of the days I was there it rained and it reminded me of one of my favorite things about this part of the country. It’s farmland as far as you can see but there is no irrigation here – God himself waters this land. I remember several times as a kid when the farmers needed more rain. So we had a prayer meeting. And when we had a prayer meeting for rain, the large church I grew up in was full – wall to wall people, standing room only. Everyone around my hometown knew who watered their crops and our town’s economy depended on those crops.

As I read God’s Word in the book of Job I am remembering what it felt like sitting in my cabin by the lake, listening to it rain and thunderstorm, saying ‘wow’ when the thunder clapped very loudly right over us and watching the bright show of lightening cracking across the lake.

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;

he does great things beyond our understanding.

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’

and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour”.

So that everyone he has made may know his work,

he stops all people from their labor.

The animals take cover;

They remain in their dens.

The tempest come out from it’s chamber,

the cold from the driving winds.

The breath of God produces ice,

and broad waters become frozen.

He loads the clouds with moisture;

he scatters his lightening through them.

At his direction they swirl around

over the face of the earth

to do whatever he commands them.” Job 37: 5-12.

God definitely had the attention of everyone around the lake that day. It was impossible to ignore his work.

Do you know the benefits that God has packed into a rainstorm like that?

  • the obvious one is the rainfall – growing the crops and providing grass to feed the animals.
  • rainstorms are natural air-conditioners – cooling the air and the land.
  • lightening provides nitrogen which fertilizes the soil and provides protein for the animals.
  • rainstorms remove pollution in the air, cleaning it.

I may not understand a lot of things God does, but when I feel the rain, hear the thunder and see the lightening, I know that God is providing for us and taking care of us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

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.

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.

Do Not Listen

Do you ever feel surrounded by lies?

Do you automatically question news you read on Facebook or hear on TV?

When you see graphs and numbers and statistics, do you wonder if any of it is accurate?

I do. I question any news I hear – all of it. I don’t believe a lot of things that people tell me. If it’s important, I research it myself looking for corroborating information from several credible sources. I no longer automatically trust leaders – any kind of leader.

Being lied to by people we should be able to trust is not a new thing. God spoke very clearly about some of the liars in Jeremiah’s day. “Do not listen to the prophets who say, ‘Very soon now the articles from the LORD’s house will be brought back from Babylon.’ They are prophesying lies to you. Do not listen. ” Jeremiah 27: 16 – 17. God goes on to say that the articles of the temple would stay in Babylon until he brought them back. Ultimately he was saying that it wasn’t happening until he made it happen and it wasn’t happening now.

I also question things that I hear come out of pastor’s mouths during sermons. I’m in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and, if I don’t remember reading something that is said in a sermon, I go home and research it. Most of the time it’s a phrase or a situation that I’ve never fully understood before and it’s great – I learned something. I’ve had a few times when I didn’t agree with how the pastor used a scripture especially when a single verse is not used in context with the verses around it.

The one source I never question is the Bible. It is the Living Word of God. I question people’s interpretations of scripture but not what God has actually said. God is perfect and he doesn’t make mistakes. The Bible is as relevant today as it was when it was written.

And God is saying, “Do not listen.” There has never been a time in my life where this direction is more important than right now. There has never been a time where asking God to help me discern the truth has been as high of a priority for me.

Because I feel like I’m surrounded by lies. Surrounded by information that is being manipulated by leaders who are putting personal goals of power and wealth ahead of the greater good.

And God is saying, ‘Do not listen.”

Thank you, Abba Father.

Revealer of Mysteries

I don’t understand everything I read in the Bible. 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 he is usually giving me an answer to something I have prayed about.

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.

It’s Not a Waste

Sometimes I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time today – or last week – or last year.

How much time did I waste watching TV? How much time did I waste worrying about tomorrow? Worrying about things that never happened? How much time have I wasted looking at my phone or IPad?

What about you? How much time have you wasted lately?

But there is one place in my life where no time is wasted. I know this for fact – when I sit with my Bible open on my lap reading God’s word, studying God’s Word, and listening to God as he helps me figure out how to apply his word to my life, not one second is wasted.

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater; so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55: 10-11.

This is great news for all of us and especially ‘achievers’ like me. It is so awesome to know when God’s word goes into my mind, it achieves the purpose God has for it. Of course, I have freedom of choice so I have to choose to listen and I have to choose to obey.

It’s a huge confidence-builder for me to know that when I choose to open my eyes and heart to the word of God, he promises that he will accomplish his desires through me.

I can count on it.

I love knowing that I’m not wasting a second of my time when I spend it with God.

Thank 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