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.

Try It

I would normally tell you from experience that it’s not a good idea to test God. You won’t like consequences. God wants us to have faith in him and trust him, not test him.

With one exception.

There is one place in the Bible where God says, “Test me”.

He knows all the issues we have with money – it quickly becomes our god, we always want more and we’re willing to sacrifice our families to get it, we have trouble giving generously, we get in such deep debt that we think we can’t give.  Just to name a few.

God says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10.

I have attended a couple of different churches who sponsor a 90 day challenge for giving to God.  People tithe for 90 days – no cheating because nothing is hidden from God – and they watch God move in their finances.  If they don’t see God move, they get their money back.

Nobody has ever asked for their money back because God always moves.  I love it!  Test him!

And you will find out what those of us that have committed to tithing have found out – the refunds, checks for overpayment and unexpected credit to our accounts start rolling in.   Regular stories like this –

I had a dental claim paid by my insurance a couple of years ago and the medical assistant looked at me with surprise when she handed me back a check for $900. She told that insurance NEVER covers this part of the procedure but they did for me. Thank you, God!

The air conditioner in our home recently started making a very loud and worrying noise. Our house is 15 years old and the air conditioner is original to the house so you know what we thought – time for a new air conditioner. Nope! It was fixed for the cost of a service call. I always give God the credit for anything like this that happens to us because I know he’s watching over us.

You would hear these kinds of stories from anyone who has committed to tithe.  God is faithful and we can count on him to respond when we are generous givers. I also believe God moves in how often our cars break down and how quickly appliances stop working. If we are stingy with God, don’t be surprised with high car repair bills and appliances that keep having problems.

Through the years, my husband and I have given two of our older cars to charity because we know God will bless us more for that than what we could sell them for.  We recently donated a 2 year-old refrigerator to a church mission for the same reason.  God knows.

When you and I faithfully tithe, we are putting our finances under the umbrella of God’s blessing.  When we do that, he not only blesses our finances, he pours other blessings into our lives as well.  These are things that money can’t buy – like joy, love and purpose.  And more.

So much more pours out that it fills us up and starts to spill over to the people around us.  The windows of heaven open up for us when we get our money in line with God.  The more we give, the more we have.  That’s God’s math.  We cannot outgive God.

If you don’t have any of these stories, go ahead and test God!  I know what will happen.

Thank you for your faithfulness with our finances, Abba Father.

Why Do I Read the Bible?

I read the Bible because, as Zachariah says,

“This message is from the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the world, and who forms the human spirit within a person…” Zechariah 12:1.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   The God who did all of this and formed my spirit wants to talk to me, he wants to teach me and he wants to guide me. He wants me to know the truth. He wants me to know him.

And I want to listen.

Thank you for your Word, Abba Father.

What’s Your Story?

I have a story.

You have a story.

How did we get here? Tell me about the mountains you climbed and I’ll tell you about the valleys I’ve struggled through.

God tells us in Psalm 107 that we all need to tell our stories.  “Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story.” Psalm 107: 2.

Each of us has a unique tale to share.

Some of us have wandered, looking for a place to belong. We were hungry for love, starving for a purpose. When we cried out to God, he drew us closer to himself – to the place he made just for us. God gave us a purpose to get up every morning.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us lived in darkness, bound by chains of rebellion, stumbling through life with no help in sight. But we cried out to the LORD and he brought us out of the utter darkness, breaking all of our chains.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Some of us made very foolish decisions and were suffering through the consequences of those to the point of thinking that death might be an option.  But, instead, we turned to God for help and he healed us, rescuing us from the living death we found ourselves in.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

Others of us have experienced violent storms in our lives as huge waves of pain and grief washed over us. When our courage and strength were gone, we finally cried out to the LORD and he “stilled the storm with a whisper”, calmed the waves and guiding us home to him.

Let us tell our story, giving thanks to God for he is good.

My story is that I have known Jesus as my Savior my entire life but I decided to wander in my young adulthood – trying out all the ‘fun’ things the world had to offer. It seemed great at first but gradually my life because very empty and filled with darkness. So I called out to God who made it very clear to me that he had never left me. When I turned back to him, I found him waiting for me with open arms.

God has been gradually drawing me closer to him as I travel this Journey towards the Truth each day. I have left the emptiness and darkness behind, finding meaning and light as I put God first in my life. 

I will continue to tell my story for the rest of my life, giving thanks to God for he is good.

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.

Looking For It

Where can I find satisfaction?

Is contentment even a possibility for you?

God speaks to you and me in Haggai about the negative consequences that happen when we have our priorities wrong –

We work hard but have little to show for it…except for a lot of bills.

We eat but there is still a hunger in our souls.

We drink but we are still thirsty….for something.

We put on new clothes but then we need to buy more because the last thing we bought didn’t satisfy us.

“You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:6.

Can you relate to any of those?

I can.  I have experienced all of those at different times of my life when my eyes were focused on something other than God.

I love how God uses the image of a purse – or pockets for us today – full of holes.  Before I put God first in my finances, all the money we made disappeared so fast that it felt like all of my pockets had holes in them.  And was I satisfied?  No!

I learned that if my life is about money and stuff, I will never have enough.  And that is what God is telling you and I today in Haggai.  God was talking to the Israelites because they were busy building their own houses while ignoring the rebuilding of God’s house, the Temple.

What is keeping you and I too busy to put God first in our lives?

God is telling us to get our priorities straight and THEN we will find satisfaction.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father

He is Already Responding

Do you ever feel like God is not listening to your prayers? It can feel like this when he doesn’t respond in the way we want him to. It can also feel like this when we just aren’t seeing him move.

God tells us today in the book of Daniel that he heard Daniel’s prayer and sent the angel Gabriel to earth to give a message to him while Daniel was still praying.

“As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.” Gabriel told Daniel. Daniel 9:23.

Wow!  As soon as Daniel began to pray, God was responding.  Right away.  Daniel hadn’t even finished praying before God was taking action on his request.

Love it!

God is telling you and me that this is still happening today when we pray.  Before I have finished praying, God is moving, responding, orchestrating things for my good – every day, all day.

Yes, the angel said Daniel was ‘highly esteemed’. Daniel prayed long and often to God. He had a close relationship with God that helped him pray in line with God’s will. We know that, when we pray for what God wants done, it always happens, the answer is always ‘yes’.

I know when I turn to God and pray, recognizing my dependence on him, he takes action. Sometimes I see him moving and other times I don’t. But I trust that he is and I often – in His perfect timing – see the results. Just this weekend I found out that a very important, longer-term prayer of mine has been answered.

I don’t need an angel to tell me that God is listening, I have his Word on it.

Thank you for always listening and responding, Abba Father

My Plan

Do you have a plan for your life?

I know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.

As I read Psalm 89, my plan jumps right off the page- “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” vs 1.  I will tell everyone I know about how I have experienced your faithfulness all my life, Abba Father.

I will talk about your perfect love for me and the abundant blessings you have showered down on my life.

I will walk with you all of the days I have left on this earth, Father, until the day we walk into heaven together, hand in hand.

I will find my peace in your strength.  I will find my joy in your love and faithfulness.  I will find my strength in your righteousness and justice.

I will walk in the light of your presence each day, Father. 

And I will continue to sing of your great love forever.

Amen and Amen.

It’s a Struggle

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 5 1/2 years have been.  It defines adversity.  Living with the reality of my circumstances is a struggle.

As I read the book of Job in the Bible, I can relate.  Job experiences the shock of getting terrible news that all of his children have been killed.  I can relate.   Then, after the first horrible news,  painful things just kept happening.  I can relate.  When people around him started saying strange and wrong things to him, I can relate.  Job questioned God and wondered why this was all happening to him.  I can relate.  He was overwhelmed with sorrow.  I can relate.

It’s a huge struggle.

Job was confident that his redeemer lived and he was confident that – in the end – his redeemer wins.  I can relate.  He knew that God was in total control and all-powerful.  I can relate.

Job committed his life to being faithful to God in spite of his circumstances.  I can relate. 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.

Thank you for helping me in my struggle, Abba Father.

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 two weeks 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 all day – it was raining when we woke up and still raining when we went to bed.

This reminded me of one of the 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 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 a couple of weeks ago, listening to it rain and thunderstorm all day, 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.