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.

Maybe

Maybe we will all understand.

Maybe we will turn away from our next bad choice and turn back to him.

This is what God wants for us. This is what God wanted for the people of Judah when he had Baruch write down all of the words he had given to Jeremiah.  “Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I plan to inflict on them, they will each turn from their wicked ways; then I will forgive their wickedness and their sin.”

God wants to forgive us.

He wants us to know him

– to feel his love.

– experience his peace.

– live in his joy.

– rely on his strength for each day.

– and anticipate all of the good things he has planned for us tomorrow.

God wants all of this to happen in our lives.  That’s why he had his wisdom and guidance for us written down in the Bible.

I believe that God does not ‘inflicts disaster’ on those that have put their faith in Jesus. But God does let us pay the consequences for our bad decisions hoping that we will learn to turn away from bad behavior. He also lets us experience the negative things that happen from living in a broken, sin-filled world. It’s a great reminder that this is not our home. God walks beside us through all of our negative consequences and situations, loving us, teaching us and helping us mature in our faith.

As my Bible lies open on my lap with my mind actively seeking God, his truth is soaking into my soul, changing me, renewing me. He is helping me make make better choices. He is guiding me through the mess and the lies of the culture around me. His Spirit is alive inside of me, filling the ‘God spot’ within my soul and making me whole.

God hoped that the people of Judah would understand. Maybe this would help them decide to turn away from their sin and turn back to him.

God wants this same thing to happen today.

Right now.

For you and I.

As we read and respond to his Word.

Please open our eyes, 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.

Foolish

What was this person thinking?

I can’t believe this person wrote that!

There are times when I feel surrounded by crowds of people who are not thinking, not using logic, and not caring about the facts. These people seem to be reacting purely out of emotion – to everything.

And sometimes its hard not to respond back in the same way. It would feel good – for a minute – but then I would regret that I was acting just like they were. Emotionally. Without thinking. That’s not good.

God generously gives you and I some wisdom in this situation in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly; or you yourself will be just like him.”

Yep, when I answer a foolish statement with my own emotional, foolish statement, I am on the wrong track. The right track is to look to God for wisdom and discernment.

God tells me in Proverbs 9: 7-9 to forget about correcting a fool. Their response will be to insult me, abuse me and hate me. But a wise person learns from correction and grows wiser.

That’s the kind of person I want to be – a wise person who is learning and being transformed by the truth of God.

Proverbs is full of God’s wisdom regarding all kinds of situations we find ourselves in.

Thank you for your precious Word to us, Abba Father.

My Greatest Treasure

My greatest treasure is not money,

or fame,

or any of my ‘stuff’.

My  greatest treasure is wisdom.  Wisdom – so I can navigate successfully through all of the valleys and hills and blind curves of my life.  I’ve been memorizing wisdom scripture this last 6 years.  I have an extremely bad memory so it is really God who is etching his Word on my heart – I just faithfully get out my memory cards every day.  I found out why God commands me to memorize his truth 5 years ago when tragedy blew my life apart.  God used the words he carved into my brain to keep my soul from crumbling into a million painful pieces when my son was killed in the line of duty.

God tells us in the first chapter of James that he gives us generous amounts of wisdom when we ask for it.  I’ve been asking, I need it and I’m not going stop.

King Solomon asked for wisdom at a crucial time in his reign and God responded by making him the wisest man who ever lived. The news about King Solomon spread and we read in 1 King 10 that the historically famous Queen of Sheba decided to go visit him.  She knew about King Solomon’s extreme wealth but she was not interested in that — she was crazy rich herself.  She was not interested in his palaces or any of his numerous possessions.

The Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon’s wisdom.  That’s what motivated her to take a very dangerous 1200 mile trip on camels through a desert filled with thieves and criminals.

When the Queen of Sheba asked Solomon all of her many questions, he had an answer for everything.  She was surprised.  She didn’t think any man could have that kind of wisdom.

Before she left, she said to Solomon, “How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!” 1 Kings 10:8.

I can’t help thinking – are the people who hang out with you and me happy about all the wisdom they hear from us every day? Maybe we should be asking for more?

All wisdom comes from God and he generously gives it to us when we ask.  It is our greatest treasure.

Thank you,  Abba Father