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

A Discerning Heart

Do you have any decisions you need to make? Are you surrounded by options that all look good? Which one do you choose?

Are you struggling with a relationship in your life? You don’t know what to do? Where to turn?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I do. Everything is moving and changing so quickly…and its all just going to get faster. If you’ve been on this planet as many revolutions as I have, it’s extremely tough to keep up. I’ll admit it – I can use all the help I can get.

I’m sure King Solomon felt this way as he was talking to God in 1 Kings 3: 9, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” 

God honored that request by making Solomon the wisest man who has ever lived.

Whenever I think about all the wisdom I need to navigate this world, I am reminded that God tells me at the beginning of the book of James that he wants to give me a generous amount of wisdom. I just need to ask for it.

So one of my regular prayers is asking for wisdom. Whenever I feel the twists of concern in my stomach or find myself in the middle of conflict or a difficult situation, I know where I can get wisdom for this situation. God has promised he will give me plenty.

And he has. God is always faithful. But it’s not a magic button and ‘poof’ I have the answer or my issue is resolved. God speaks to me through his Word and gives me direction. I have to listen to him and do what he says. Then I see how he is guiding me in the right direction and giving me wisdom – step by step.

Do you have choices you need to make? Plans? Relationship issues that need to be addressed?

God has generous amounts of wisdom he is waiting to give you. Ask for it as you open your eyes and heart to him and his Word. You’ll find it.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Struggle

I don’t want it.

I don’t like it.

But I feel like I’ve earned my Doctorate in Struggling these last 4 1/2 years since my son, David Glasser, who was a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.  My struggles before his death all pale in comparison.

If I got a doctorate in this area, my thesis would be, ” As we persevere with faith through our struggles, we grow, we mature.”

God tells us through James this morning that we can become wise through our trials.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without fault, and it will be given to you.  But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like the wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  James 1: 5 & 6. 

Its a fact – God gives a generous amount of wisdom to all of us who ask but we need to believe we have received it.  Too often we ask for wisdom but then doubt that God has given it to us.  So we don’t use it.  We don’t accept that we can now make a wiser choice.  We ignore the wisdom God has given us and continue to make the wrong decisions, going down a crooked path which often takes us to more trials. 

This is not what God wants for us.  This is not what he wants for me.

I have asked God repeatedly for more wisdom as I deal with the explosive tragedy that blew my world apart when my son was killed.  And God has given it to me.  He also revealed to me how he had prepared me for this tsunami beforehand by drawing me to himself through his Word.  He has taught me that the only way to survive – and thrive – through the struggles with loss and grief that are now a permanent part of my life is to stay close to him. 

I have learned just how dependent I need to be on God.  I can’t do this on my own.

And that is very wise.

Thank you, Abba Father.

How Can I Know the Way?

How do I figure out my next step?

How do I know who to believe?

How do I decide which way to go?

These are all tough questions with important answers.

Thomas asked Jesus this same question after Jesus told him he was going away to prepare a place for the disciples.  Thomas replies, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5)

Jesus replied, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the Way.

I’m not going to choose the right path without him.  I’m not going to know what to believe unless I know the Truth.  I’m going to wander and end up places I don’t want to be if I don’t follow the Way.

It’s just that simple –

and that complicated.

I need to commit each day to following him,

commit each hour to believing in him,

and I need to commit each minute to trusting him if I really want to know the Way.

Please guide each of us in the right Way, Abba Father.

Would You Like to Get Well?

Is anybody feeling sick?

Lonely?

Angry?

Confused?

Empty?

Sad?

Stuck in a dark place?

I have been in all of these situations.

When Jesus says, “Would you like to get well?” to the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, I can relate.   Several different times in my life I have needed healing. (picture is from my visit to the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem) A couple of times it was physical healing but more often it was mental, emotional or spiritual healing.  So I asked and Jesus healed me.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have some physical issues like compressed disks in my neck.  God must have a different plan for those because, no matter how many doctors I see and how many times I have asked, God has not healed them.

Looking back, I can see that Jesus has been in the process of healing my spiritual, mental and emotional issues ever since I put him first in my life.  One step at a time.  Perseverance in running this race of faith is the key – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Every once in awhile God throws in some of his special ‘magic’ where he opens my eyes to something big – I call those epiphanies.  I will have a sudden deeper understanding of a significant truth or God will show me how he is already working out something in my life.  That’s always an exciting experience!

Anytime I feel lonely, unhappy, angry, confused, empty or stuck, I know I need to spend some significant time with God.  He reorganizes my thoughts, straightens out my emotions and calms my soul.

Sounds like healing, doesn’t it?

Thank you, Abba Father.

What Does It Mean?

It all connects.

Choices I make today result in consequences I have to deal with tomorrow….

and 10 years from now….

and 20 years from now.

My decisions are important.  I have to figure out ahead of time if my choices are going to take me to a place I want to be.

I need wisdom, right?  Some of this stuff is hard to decide.  So I go to God.  In James 1, God has promised to give me generous amounts of wisdom whenever I ask.  I just have to believe I have received it.  I need to trust him and get rid of any doubts.

How can I be so sure that it’s God talking to me and guiding instead of myself or  – even worse – Satan?  I have studied God’s word for many years and, when I am listening, I recognize his voice.  I know what he would say.  I know his truth and that’s what he uses to guide me.

It’s so much different that the lies of this world.  It’s easy to discern.

I love the story in Daniel of the human hand that appeared and wrote a message to King Belshazzar on the wall in the middle of his big party.  It was a warning.  The bad consequences of his choices had piled up and the King was going to pay the price with his life.  He died that night.

I obviously want to make better choices that King Belshazzar did.  So I go to God early on in my decision-making.  And – sometimes – he writes a warning on the wall in my mind.  “Don’t go there, you won’t like what happens.”  “Don’t do that, you won’t like the consequences.”

I love these warnings because he is always right (of course).  I really don’t want to go there.  I definitely don’t want to do that.  I need to make a better decision now so that I don’t end up in a place I never wanted to be.

It all connects.

Please give us your wisdom, Abba Father.

Stop! Don’t Do It!

Where I decide to go matters.

Who I hang out with matters.

How I use my time matters.

Where I spend my money matters.

When I make good choices, even better things come by way.  When I make bad choices, I experience the negative consequences.  And that is never fun.

It’s interesting to me how God forgives my sins but he doesn’t take away all of the negative consequences of my sins.  He is a good Father and he wants me to learn from my mistakes – so he doesn’t take away the bad consequences but he helps me deal with them.

Why do you think he tells me to ask for wisdom in James 1?  Because I really need it!  Please give me more wisdom, Father! 

I have paid the consequences for some of the my bad decisions for a very long time.  And I have learned –

I have learned that there is a direct correlation between bad choices and bad consequences.  It’s not luck.  It’s not someone else’s fault.  I did it to myself.

I have learned how quickly bad decisions can become nightmares which can follow me around for a long time.

My mistakes remind me just how bad my choices can be and they keep me more humble.  No one is exempt.

Lot’s story in Genesis 13 has me wanting to yell, “Stop!  Bad Choice!  Don’t do it!”

Abram (later renamed Abraham) and Lot were nomads travelling around together at this point with their families and their herds of animals.  Their group got too large for the amount of food and water available so Abram talked to Lot about splitting up.  Abram gave Lot first choice of land.

Of course, Lot chose the fertile ground of the Jordan valley leaving the less desirable hill country of Canaan for Abram.

Bad decision, Lot!  Lot settled his family and flocks by Sodom which was such a wicked city that God later rained fire on it and destroyed it.  Lot’s decision to live there eventually caused him to have to flee, losing his wife along with everything he owned.

On the surface, it looked like an easy decision to live in a great location.  But the consequences of this decision were monumental.

It shouldn’t have been that easy.  There were lots of flags telling Lot that was not the best place for him.  He either chose to ignore them or didn’t even think that hard about it.

Lesson learned – many of our decisions should not be as easy as we think they are – especially if we want to avoid the negative consequences of a bad decision.

Please give us wisdom, Abba Father.

How Can I Know the Way?

How do I figure out my next step?

How do I know who to believe?

How do I decide which way to go?

These are all tough questions with important answers.

Thomas asked Jesus this same question after Jesus told him he was going away to prepare a place for the disciples.  Thomas replies, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus replied, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Jesus is the way.

I’m not going to choose the right path without him.  I’m not going to know what to believe unless I know the Truth.  I’m going to wander and end up places I don’t want to be if I don’t follow the Way.

It’s just that simple –

and that complicated.

I need to commit each day to following him,

commit each hour to believing in him,

and I need to commit each minute to trusting him if I really want to know the Way.

Please guide each of us in the right Way, Abba Father.

Where Is It?

Where can I find it?

Where can you find it?

Wisdom.  Understanding.

I could spend a lifetime searching for wisdom – trying to understand.

But I would never find it.  Because I’m not going to find it on TV or the Internet.  Twitter and Facebook will not help me grow wise.  Human knowledge does not bring wisdom.

God tells us through Job – “No mortal comprehends it’s (wisdom) worth, it cannot be found in the land of the living.”

S0 – where do wisdom and understanding come from?

“God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells”.

And God tells us, “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding.”

This fear means to respect God and submit to his will.

Respecting God and obeying him makes me wise.  Turning away from evil and avoiding it brings me understanding.  I don’t have to look any farther than my relationship with God to find wisdom and understanding.

I love how clearly God speaks about these very important items…..

when I’m listening.

Thank you, Abba Father.