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.

I Know That Voice

Little Samuel’s story in the Bible is one my favorites.

He heard a voice calling to him in the night and he thought is was the Prophet Eli since he was living with Eli.  So Samuel got out of bed and ran to Eli saying, “Here I am”.

But Eli said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.”

This happened again and then the third time, Eli realized that it was God who was calling the boy.  This time Eli told Samuel, when he heard the voice, to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9.

When God spoke again, Samuel told him he was listening and God went on to tell Samuel what was soon going to happen.

I’ve got a challenge for you.  The next time you think you might be hearing something from God, say those same words, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”  And then listen.  Listen to what is going through your brain.  Think about what you have been reading in God’s Word and how it applies to your life.  Think about coincidences that have been happening in your life and how they relate to what you’ve been reading.  Remember things that Godly people in your life have said to you recently.

I believe God is regularly trying to break through the cacophony of our culture – especially the electronic bubble where we spend a lot of our time.  He is trying to talk to you and me – guiding us, encouraging us, and teaching us.

Have you had the experience where you are reading God’s Word and suddenly a sentence seems to stick out of the page? It almost looks like it’s in bold print? You reread a phrase a couple of times?  You start to wonder what this means in your life?  Has that phrase always been there?  I don’t remember ever reading that or even hearing anyone talk about that before?  That is God stopping us.  That is God drawing our attention to something specific in his Word so he can speak to us.

That’s what God did today with me.  He stopped me as I was reading to remind me how much I like young Samuel’s story.  Because I know God, I know he is encouraging me to continue to learn how to hear him more and more clearly as I read his Truth.  My knowledge of God is growing and the more I know him, the better I hear him.

How can I be confident that it’s God that’s talking to me and not just my own thinking?  What God says to me will always be consistent with what he says in the Bible.  He will not contradict himself.

I am also 100% sure it’s God talking when he says something I’ve never thought of before and it’s consistent with what I have read in the Bible.  God confirms his guidance to me through my circumstances as well.  When it’s God talking to me, things happening around me will line up with what God is saying.  Sometimes it will be something my husband, my pastor or a friend says.  As I pray about what God is telling me, God will often open up my eyes to how he is moving around me and I’m be able to connect the dots.

When I take time to consider all of these things, God’s directions to me become really clear.

When I work at staying aware of the fact that God is trying to talk to me, it’s not hard to hear him.

I hear you, Abba Father

Which Direction?

So many decisions…

sometimes its hard to figure out my next steps.

A lot of options.

burning-bush

Why can’t I get a burning bush like God gave Moses?  It was big.  It was dramatic. There was an angel in the bush.  Moses couldn’t miss it.  If I got one of those, it would be so much easier to listen and follow, right?

In my life, God gives me what I would call burning plants.  They are a lot smaller than a bush and much less impressive but when I’m reading God’s word, praying and listening, God will set fire to the next small plant – lighting the way to my next decision – and then my next.

Here’s how it works – I’m regularly reading God’s word and listening to how he wants me to apply it to my life.  I pray – expecting God to move and answer but keeping my mind open knowing that God can answer in a way that’s much different from how I think he will answer.

I watch.

And he lines up my circumstances, one step at a time.

He will also add confirmations along the way.  Godly people around me will say something that reinforces the direction indicated by a recent burning plant.  And it’s not unusual for my pastor on Sunday to say something that confirms my next decision.

When God knows I am watching and listening, he can work through all of these things to make my next step clear to me.

I have found that I don’t need a big, dramatic burning bush if I’m paying attention.  My small burning plants work just fine.

Thank you for your guidance, Abba Father.

Sifted

What does it mean to be sifted?

Ash is sifted to find anything important or useful in it.  Wheat is sifted so the unusable chaff is separated from the valuable grains.

I know what it feels like to be sifted. My world shook when my son, David Glasser, who was Phoenix Police Officer was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016. My life crumbled. All of my hopes and dreams for him were stripped away. His future completely disappeared, leaving gaping holes full of hurt in my world.

What was left?

I had to dig deep…..

very deep,

into my faith and what I knew to be true in order to stay standing in the middle of the devastation.

Harsh sifting.

So Jesus’ words to Peter in Luke 22 stop me.  “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.  But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.  So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” vs 31-32.

Satan asked to sift the disciples – this is not the first time I have read this but it’s the first time it has sunk in.  Satan knew that Jesus expected the disciples to share the Great News of salvation to world so the disciples became a pivotal target for Satan.

Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times in one night.  Major sifting.  So Jesus was encouraging Peter that his faith could not only withstand the shaking it was going to get, it was going to become stronger.  Through this experience of denying Jesus, then repenting and turning back to him, Peter would be more prepared to help strengthen his brothers.

I have learned there is purpose in the pain when I let God control what happens next.  God can make good come from evil – he did it in my life. My prayer is that my sharing this with you will help you turn to God when you are being sifted so your faith and trust in him will be strengthened.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

Why?

Why is this happening?

Why am I struggling through this?

Why?

I have discovered that many of the ‘why?’ questions I ask God are not answered immediately.  His answer comes later.  In some cases, many years later.

I have learned to recognize God’s movement in many of my why’s.  God is a huge planner.  He is the master orchestrator of the past, present and future for all of his children.

Why am I going through a tough time today?  Often I realize much later that the first tough experience trained me for an even tougher trial that was coming my way.  I learned lessons in the first struggle which helped me be more successful in navigating the next difficult situation in my life.

God prepared me.

As I read God’s Word, I see God’s preparation as a consistent thread in his epic love story.  In the book of Esther, Queen Esther was faced with a life-threatening situation when her people, the Jews, are being seriously threatened and Mordecai gave her this challenge, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a times as this.” Esther 4:14. Wisely, Esther responded to the challenge by asking Mordecai to gather together all the Jews of Susa to fast with her for 3 days as she prepared for her audience with the king.  She was going to reveal the fact that she was a Jew and ask the king to save her people.  At that time in history, you were putting your life in danger by going to the king when he had not invited you.  If the king didn’t want to see her, he could have her killed.

As the story unfolds, we see that over those 3 days of fasting God helped Esther develop a strategy for delivering her message.  She set the stage first so that the king was ready to grant her plea for mercy for her and her people.

Preparation.

I know it’s a big part of why God let’s difficult things happen in my life – and your’s.  Each step of the way, God guides us and teaches us what we will need to know for the next trial in our lives, training us so we are ready to complete the purpose he has for us here.

Thank you for preparing us and walking beside us, 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.

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.

Here’s the Answer

Why is there so much evil in the world?

Why are our families being torn apart?

Why is there so much anger and hatred in our country?

Why are addictions the plague of our century?

Why are innocent children being abused and killed?

Why are we living in a worldwide pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on our emotional, spiritual, physical and economic well-being?  Why now?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Satan takes the credit for all of this in the first chapter of Job.  He tells God that he just got back from “roaming the earth, going back and forth on it.” (vs 7 )

And Satan leaves a wide path of destruction wherever he goes.  That’s what I’m seeing and that’s what you are seeing – the work of Satan.  He has convinced a whole lot of people to ignore the truth – just rant emotionally about whatever has upset you today. Forget about being kind, loving and forgiving, and just focus on yourself – that’s all that matters

Satan smiles whenever we believe the lies swirling all around us in our culture.  He loves it when we consult Google instead of God when deciding what’s right and wrong, good or bad.

He enjoys watching us wreck our relationships and our marriages with our selfishness.  He encourages us to be impatient, impulsive and immature.

Wow!  He is really getting a kick out of the lack of respect for authority that is growing in our country.  It’s a win-win for him because everyone else loses.

Satan smiles when he can do anything to distract us from our relationship with God.  He’ll even bring good things into our lives if they will lure us away from God. I’m asking myself – is there anything, good or bad, that Satan has placed in my life to keep me from spending time with God? Have you asked yourself this question?

Satan is very busy roaming…..

going back and forth…

back and forth…

today…..

everyday,

over our world, and our country and our neighborhoods and our homes.

Please use us to overcome evil with your good,  Abba Father.

There is Danger

On my trip to Israel 7 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 warn the people of the village when they saw possible danger approaching.

God explains a spiritual watchman’s duties 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 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 communicated truth with love every chance he got.  He communicated in ways that the people around him could hear.  And understand.  And avoid the danger.

Thank you, dear Jesus.  Please help me do the same.

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 10th 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.