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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 31: His Name, Elohim

 

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Well, we made it! Day 31 of #write31days! Thank you for joining me. If you participated in the challenge, kudos to you! Writing every day has indeed been a challenge, but it has also been a blessing.

I think it’s appropriate to end this series with the great name of the Creator God.

Elohim

'ĕlôhı̂ym
el-o-heem'
Plural of H433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: - angels, X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

The plural form of El, meaning “strong one.” He is transcendent mighty and strong. Elohim is the great name of God, displaying His supreme power, sovereignty, and faithfulness in His covenant relationship with us.

As I write this the thunder rolls and the lightning flashes overhead. Rain pelts the window and the banks of our little creek overflow.

It’s easy to see the hand of our Creator these events. Nature is a great teacher. She teaches us of our utter powerlessness. But God has power over all.

The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Psa 77:17-18

Who is the Father of the rain?

"Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass? "Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? Job 38:25-28

If we could hear the lightening speak, what would it say?

Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, 'Here we are'? Job 38:35

This God, Elohim, is the same God Who loves us tenderly. Who imparts to us peace that surpasses understanding. Who bestows on us His grace and mercy.

It is my deepest prayer that this series has drawn you closer to God.

I bow my knees before the Father, and pray that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. {Eph 3:14-21}

 Mountain_Stream

Amen.

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Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Friday, October 30, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 30, His Name, El Olam

 

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El Olam

The Everlasting God

From the Hebrew ‛ôlâm  ‛ôlâm {o-lawm', o-lawm'} eternal, ancient, of old and, my personal favorite, time out of mind.  From the Greek αἰώνιος aiōnios {ahee-o'-nee-os} perpetual, eternal.

El Olam emphasizes God’s unchangeableness and is connected with His inexhaustibleness.

Why is time out of mind a personal favorite? Besides the term’s poetic nature, it points to both the past and the future. It comforts me to remember that God has always been. God is immutable.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psa 90:2

And it comforts me to remember that He always will be. God is infinite. The enemy may like to deceive himself, but no one is going to be knocking God off His throne. Ever.

The LORD reigns; He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; He has put on strength as His belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits Your house, O LORD, forevermore. Psa 93:1-5

Our lives are not in the hands of some wet-behind-the-ears shipman here. God is Yahweh Sabbaoth, the Lord of Hosts, the commander of the armies of heaven. The Ancient of days. Who has always been and always will be.

Wrapped up in this nature of God we can’t be assured of three things:

His everlasting covenant.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Heb 13:20-21

His everlasting kingdom.

For in this way1 there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2Pe 1:11

Everlasting life.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Joh 3:16

We are all everlasting {eternal} beings. We are going to spend eternity somewhere. Either with God, or apart from Him.

It’s a sobering thought.

If you’re waiting to make a decision, Beloved, thinking perhaps that when the really bad stuff starts happening that then you will begin living for Christ, I would encourage you to take heed of this warning:

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2Th 2:9-12

 

I pray that you will not harden your hearts when you hear His voice. He stands waiting, with open arms.


 

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Lord, El Olam, we take comfort in knowing that Your

promises to us don’t have an expiration date.

We can trust in the covenant You have made, the kingdom and

the life You have promised us in Jesus Christ.

Lord, draw us into relationship with You.

May we open the door when You knock.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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1 Want to know what “in this way” refers to? Read 2 Peter

 


 

Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 29: His Name, El Roi

 

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El-Roi

God Who Sees

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after Him that seeth me? Gen 16:11-13

Not only did God see Hagar weeping by the fountain, He heard her affliction; her innermost, unspoken suffering. Thus naming her son Ishmael, God will hear.

Tears speak as well as prayers. This should be a great comfort to us, Beloved, that God not only sees what our afflictions are, but hears what they say.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Psa 56:8


As we have learned, nothing is beyond His understanding, nothing is beyond His power to redeem. We are the apple of His eye.

"He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. Deu 32:10

I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show Your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at Your right hand. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me. Psa 17:6-9

The Word is continually revealing deeper facets of His love for us.

 

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Lord, our God Who sees us.

Who knows our frame and remembers that we are dust.

Yet You rejoice over us and call us Your own.

With a sweet and tender love, You quiet us.

Our refuge and our hope is in You.

May we remain the apple of Your eye.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 28: His Name, El Qanna

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The LORD Whose Name is Jealous
El Qanna
The Hebrew word is qannâ' [kan-naw'} meaning jealous. It is derived from the word qânâ' {kaw-naw'} meaning:
A primitive root; to be (causatively make) zealous, that is, (in a bad sense) jealous or envious: -  (be) envy (-ious), be (move to, provoke to) jealous (-y), X very, (be) zeal (-ous).
It is in this root word, qânâ', where we can draw a greater understanding, I think, of God’s jealousy.
But first, a bit of background. El Qanna was not on my list of names to share with you for #write31days. But even before the events of the last week, something said several years ago has always bothered me.  Some of you may remember a webcast Oprah did back in 20091, wherein she explained how her enlightened spirituality {her belief in more than one god} was born. She heard a preacher quote from, probably Exodus 20, verse 5:
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; Exo 20:5
I don’t know how much of the text was quoted, or what the preacher was saying in context or out of context, but Oprah couldn’t understand how an all-powerful God could be jealous of her. That idea just didn’t work for her and so a new path to spiritual understanding began.
Now I don’t mean to pick on Oprah. She just happens to be someone, whom most of us know, who feels this way. She’s not alone. I’ve heard members of my family, and others say, “Well, if God is {fill in the blank}, that just doesn’t work for me. I’d rather not have a god than serve a god like that.” {etc}
I have to be honest with you, my first reaction to Oprah, my family members, and others who have made these statements is complete astonishment. Number one, it’s hard for me to fathom the {blinding} arrogance that one must have to make such a statement, and number two, especially in Oprah’s case, I’m amazed that someone could get it so wrong!
I hope that statement doesn’t make me sound arrogant or pious, because I’m not. In fact, my second reaction to these people is a deep and penetrating sadness. Because just the fact that they can make such a statement proves that they don’t know God.
And that, Beloved, is why I’m writing this difficult post. Because I want you to know the Truth about God’s jealousy.
He is not jealous OF you, in the way we might be jealous of another’s fame, fortune, or that cute Gucci bag. He is not concerned that we might somehow take His place, rather He is jealous FOR us - -  jealous of other things or people that we put in His {rightful} place in our lives.
Idols aren’t always made of wood and precious metals.
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Deu 4:23-24
Sometimes they look like social media, sports, our mate, or a higher rung on the corporate ladder.
God is serious about us, Beloved. He loves us with a consuming, holy fire. Hannah Hurnard writes about this kind of love:
Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible - terrible in it’s determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved.
The closest thing I can relate this to in our lives is the zeal and passion we feel when someone - or something tries to hurt our children, or someone we love. Or how we feel when we see our loved ones doing things we know will hurt them.
I’m 99.999% sure that Oprah will never read these words. I don’t know that it would make a difference if she did. I’m certain that by now someone has explained to her the error of her interpretation. My deepest prayer is that whomever does read these words understands the depth of our Father’s love for us, and the context of His jealousy.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39




 Blessings,


 

Sharing inspiration here:
Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 27: His Name, Father

 

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God our Father

Abba, Father

Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father” {Matt 6:9}, and the Spirit of God taught us to cry, “Abba, Father.” an intimate Aramaic term similar to “Daddy.” The Creator of the universe cares for each one of us as if we were His only child.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" Rom 8:14-15

I know for some, the concept of a father is not a happy one. However, if you’ve been following along at all this month, you know that God is nothing like our earthly fathers. He is infallible, perfect, wise and good in all that He does.

Jesus talked A LOT about His Father. He came in His Father’s name, to do His Father’s will. Jesus came to reconcile us with the Father.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Eph 2:13-21

Jesus made it clear that there was only one way to the Father.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Joh 14:6

Yet, even Philip, who knew Jesus in the flesh didn’t seem to understand.

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know Me, Philip? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does his works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. Joh 14:8-11

Once we have believed that Jesus died for us, we have free access to God. We don’t have to go through a man, make a pilgrimage or offer a sacrifice to access the throne of grace. Our heavenly Father is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whether or not we have an earthly father, we all need a heavenly Father. Our Father knows us intimately. He knows what we need, when we need it. Sometimes He wants us to first acknowledge our need and ask Him before we receive it, and other times He lavishes His blessings upon us before we are even aware of our need. Either way, He can be trusted to supply our every need.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Mat 7:7-11

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Mat 6:31-32

When was the last time you sat on your heavenly Father’s lap? For what did you ask Him?


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Abba, Father, what great JOY it brings the soul to call You thus!

I become a child again, climbing into Your lap, bubbling over

with the events of my day. The delights, and JOYs.

The skinned knees, and misunderstandings.

And then climbing down, I hold out my hand,

Come, follow me all the days of my life.

And You do so JOYfully.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Monday, October 26, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 26: His Name, El-Shaddai

 

 

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El-Shaddai

God Almighty

The Hebrew shadday , meaning Almighty comes from the root shâdad, meaning burly or powerful. It’s no surprise then, that the Greek word for Almighty, παντοκράτωρ pantokratōr contains the word kratos which means vigor, power, and strength.

We see in this name the raw power of God. But not just a physical power, a power beyond any force known to man, but also a spiritual power. An omnipotent power over hearts, minds, and beyond.  This power, Beloved, is the very power that sustains the universe.

He is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Col 1:15-17

In El-Shaddai we see God’s loving supply and comfort.

The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. Job 33:4

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psa 91:1

But we also get a glimpse of His judgment and wrath.

From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
Rev 19:15

Few of us, if any, have ever seen the wrath of God. I don’t think it is by accident that all the references (save one in 2 Cor, which is actually quoting the OT) to God Almighty in the New Testament occur in the book of Revelation. A time is coming when we will see and {some will} experience the wrath of God. The majority of the OT references portray El-Shaddai as all-sufficient and all-bountiful, the source of all blessings.

And indeed He is.

I pray by now, as we enter the final week of #write31days and our study of the names and attributes of God that the picture of God painted in your mind and on your heart is, first and foremost, one of a Holy, Good and Merciful God. A God Who is Faithful and abounding in Love. Because once we know Him in this way, we can trust Him.  We can respect His power and know without a shadow of a doubt that He will be Just in His Wrath.

God is not to be tamed and put into a box of human understanding.

Is He safe? No. But He is good, trustworthy and true.

Beyond anything we could ever hope or imagine.

But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him"--these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1Co 2:9-10

 

Water

Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,

Giver of all good gifts, we lift Your name on high.

Thank You for being our shelter and our hope.

We long to abide in Your shadow forever.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 25: His Name, Jehovah-raah

 

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Jehovah-raah

The LORD my Shepherd

This facet of our Lord’s character, the portrayal of our Lord as the Shepherd Who cares for His people as a shepherd cares for his flock, is probably one of the most comforting and familiar to us. Yet, unless we have some background in farming, or understanding of shepherding and sheep, there is a depth to this portrait that we miss.

David, being a shepherd himself, spoke intimately when he penned the 23rd Psalm.

A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psa 23:1-6

Similarly, when Jesus spoke to the people in John, chapter 10, He spoke of things they would understand. He spoke to the common man about the management of their sheep. He spoke about being the door:

Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Joh 10:7-9

Jesus tells us that His sheep know His voice, and will not follow another. He tells us that He knows us each by name.

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." Joh 10:2-5

Taking these scriptures at face value is edifying and beneficial, however there are buried gems here that can only be found by mining. Remember, Jesus was speaking to the common man. Many of whom were shepherds. When Jesus spoke of being the door of the sheep, the men didn’t think of a wooden door, as we might, but rather, they knew Jesus was speaking of His body, laid down for the protection and safety of the flock.

During the summer, the shepherds would be with their flocks in the high pasture lands. At night they would herd the sheep into a low, rock-walled corral. Then the shepherd himself would lie down in the opening. If an enemy attacked during the night, jumping over the low wall and scattering the sheep, the sheep would run to the opening, thus awakening the shepherd who would then be able to defend them against their attacker.

So too, when Jesus said the sheep know My voice and a stranger they will not follow, His listeners knew He was speaking literally. The relationship between the shepherd and his sheep is very intimate. You’ve probably seen pictures of shepherds carrying young, or wayward sheep around their necks. The sheep know the voice of their shepherd. They will not follow the voice of another. During the winter months, the shepherds return with their flocks from the pasture lands and house them, intermingled, with other flocks in barns. In the spring, when it’s time to return to the pasture lands, the shepherds call out their sheep. It would be nearly impossible to tell one shepherd’s flock from another. But there is no need, for the sheep follow only the voice of their shepherd.

It’s comforting to think of the Lord as our Shepherd. He knows our name, and we know His voice. He protects us from our enemies, and lays down His life to save us.

How could we ask for more?


 

Sheep

Lord, Jehovah-raah, what a comfort to know that

You know my name. That when You call,

I will know Your voice and follow You.

Thank You for laying down Your life, so that I may live

in eternity with You.

Such an incomprehensible gift.

One never to be earned or repaid.

Protect us from our enemies, give us rest,

according to Your word.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Note: two books that have blessed me and brought a deeper understanding of my Lord my Shepherd are Phillip Keller’s, A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23 and Lessons from a Sheep Dog.

 

Sharing inspiration here:

Playdates with God, Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,

Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, Weekend Whispers,

Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,

#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,

Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

#GiveMeGrace, Still Saturday, #write31days

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 24: His Character, Grace

 

 

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God is full of grace

After tackling God’s wrath yesterday, I’m very pleased to follow, today, with His grace.

χάρις
charis
khar'-ece
graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): - acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).

Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward us. Through His Son, Jesus Christ, working in harmony with our faith, He saves us utterly and completely! There is always a penalty for sin. And what we owed, we could never have paid. He paid it for us through His divine work on the cross.

A warning:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1Jn 1:8-10

The truth:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Rom 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 6:23

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8-9

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. Eph 1:7-10

There are hundreds of references to grace in the NT, less than a hundred in the OT, as we might expect. But one scripture in Zechariah stops my heart.

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for His only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Zec 12:10

This, Beloved is a picture of that glorious day when God appeared for the salvation of His people. In context, it looked forward to the day when the Jews had success over their enemies, in the time of the Maccabees, but it looked further still - -  To the gospel-day, to Christ's victories over the powers of darkness and the great salvation He has wrought for His chosen.

We are His chosen, Beloved. And when grace does that divine work in our heart, there will be a reflection in our life of . . .

. . . gratitude.

Have you accepted His free gift of grace? Are you grateful for the grace you have been given? How is that gratitude being reflected in your life?

 

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The Apostle Paul knew a lot about grace. He often ended his letters, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. The Apostle John often did the same. In fact, the last verse in the bible is, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. {Rev 22:21}


That’s my prayer for you today, Beloved. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, always.

 

Grace

Lord, we cannot repay what You have given,

we cannot earn Your favor.

You give freely and abundantly.

Our only response is to serve You, praise You

and glorify You.

Forever.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 23, His Character, Wrathful

 

 

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God is Wrathful

This is a hard truth about God, but if we want to know Him, we have to embrace everything about His character.

Yes, God is Love, but He is Just and Holy and His anger burns against the wicked. We need to be careful here that we do not anthropomorphize God the way we do our animal friends. Unlike human anger, God’s wrath is never capricious, self-indulgent, or irritable. It is the right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.

The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries and keeps wrath for His enemies. Nah 1:2

With over 151 references to wrath in the OT and over 40 in the NT, this is an attribute of God that we should study and seek to understand. The OT references can be hard, but we need to remember to take scripture as a whole to gain true understanding. For example, the very next verse in Nahum states, The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.

Do those words “slow to anger” seem familiar to you? Maybe that’s because nine times in the OT we’re told that the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. This is not a paradox, Beloved. Yes, God is avenging and wrathful. He will take vengeance on His adversaries. But His truest desire is that we be His children, not His enemies.

The wrath of God was satisfied on the cross.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Joh 3:16

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 6:23

Death, the penalty for sin, was defeated on the cross. But make no mistake, the final judgment is coming. The current events in our world today speak loudly that the enemy knows his time is short. The following passage is a hope and promise that I cling to when I think of my loved ones that do not know Him.

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2Pe 3:7-9

Our Lord takes no pleasure in punishment. Yet, the very essence of His character demands that all wrong shall be made right. We should take great comfort in this, Beloved.

We should fear the Lord, not with a fear of despair and dread, but with a sense of awe, respect and a reverence for Who He Is.

The nations raged, but Your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding Your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear Your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth." Rev 11:18


 

Mountains

Lord, You are worthy of our devotion and praise.

We fall mute in the face of Your wrath.

We are naked and poor in the light of Your majesty.

All we have to offer You is but filthy rags.

Yet, You lift us up, out of the mire.

You set our feet upon the rock and

shower us with Your mercy and grace.

Your love for us is steadfast and sure.

We will follow You all the days

of our lives.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 22: His Character, Faithful

 

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God is Faithful

 

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations. For I said, "Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness." You have said, "I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to David My servant: 'I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.'" Selah.

Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O LORD, Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For Who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around Him? O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as You are, O LORD, with Your faithfulness all around You? Psa 89:1-8

Out of His faithfulness God honors His convenants and fulfills His promises. Our hope for the future rests upon God’s faithfulness. Beloved, if there is but a glimmer of doubt, let it be no more. His faithfulness proves He can be trusted. The word {faithful} comes from the Hebrew 'êmûn {ay-moon'} meaning established, trustworthy and true. And from the Greek, pistos, meaning trustworthy, sure, true.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful-- for He cannot deny Himself. 2Ti 2:13

He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. 1Th 5:24

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2Th 3:3

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Heb 10:23

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1Jn 1:9

 

There are numerous promises of God, Beloved. Knowing them and meditating on them is a great way to increase your faith! Bible.com has some reading plans that will get you started, or you can do a study on your own using the topical study tools at biblegateway.com. I use these two online resources all the time, as well as the e-sword bible study software - - a fantastic resource and absolutely FREE!

Let us praise Him for His faithfulness, for He is worthy of our praise!

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You; I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isa 25:1

 

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Lord, faithful and true, we trust in Your unfailing love.

We know You will fulfill Your covenant to us;

Your promises of old.

Our hope and our future is in Your hands.

Your word to us is firmly established.

You are trustworthy and true,

great is Your faithfulness.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen,

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 21: His Character, Wise

 

 

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God is Wise

châkam
khaw-kam'
A primitive root, to be wise (in mind, word or act): -  X exceeding, teach wisdom, be (make self, shew self) wise, deal (never so) wisely, make wiser.

The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath He established the heavens. By His knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Pro 3:19-20

The more I observe nature the more I see the wisdom of God. If you’ve spent any time here at all, you know I write about this often. Creation is God’s manifesto! He speaks to me so clearly through that which He has made. Creation is complex and fragile, yet strong. Each week I hear stories of tragedy, polar bears dying, seas being overtaken with toxic algae. Yet, at the same time, I hear inspiring stories of creatures who have adapted and overcome, animals that are thriving!

God did not create and then leave His creation to self-destruct. All God’s acts are accomplished through His infinite wisdom. He always acts for our good, which is to conform us to Christ. Our good and His glory are inextricably bound together.

If you’ve been following along with me this month, God’s wisdom won’t surprise you. This attribute is just one more line in the beautiful picture we’re drawing in our minds of our Lord.

Knowing all we’ve learned about Him, how could He not be wise?

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! Rom 11:33

As much as the wisdom of God comforts us, and increases our faith in Him, He does not keep it for Himself. In fact, several books of the Bible, beginning with Job, and continuing thru the Song of Solomon, are called the Wisdom Books. Do you want to be wise? You begin here:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Pro 1:7

and continue by:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, Who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Jas 1:5

And lest you think you don’t need wisdom, consider this (emphasis mine):

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. Pro 2:1-15

I don’t know about you, but I think being shielded, guarded, watched over and delivered from evil sounds like a pretty good trade off for pursuing wisdom.

. . . for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Pro 8:11

 

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Lord, wise and merciful, teach us Your ways.

We want to walk in integrity, along paths

guarded by justice and goodness.

Paths that You watch over, from the heavens above.

Incline our hearts to You, that we may

gain understanding.

Deliver us from evil.

In Jesus name,

Amen,

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Inspired by . . . Day 20: His Name, Jehovah-nissi

 

 

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God our banner

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My husband is a Dreamer. Not a pie-in-the-sky dreamer, but a person who works today, with the hope of a better tomorrow. He has plans. Things he wants to do to bring more JOY into our lives. Each day he works to move one step closer to accomplishing these plans. His plans aren’t set in stone. He’s a dreamer, like I said. So the plans may change a bit, here and there, the way dreams tend to do. They morph and ebb and flow as he moves closer to achieving them. He’s open to God’s leading, He trusts God for the big picture. The dream is what gets him through the hard stuff. He keeps it firmly fixed in front of him, like a banner.

Do you have a banner? Something out it front of you that you’re working toward, that helps you get through the hard places in life? Maybe it’s your family. Each day at the office when it gets tough, you look at their picture sitting on your desk and it gives you the hope and strength you need to keep going. Or you’re stuck in traffic, so you focus on the hot, scented bubble bath that you’re going to sink into when you finally get home. Maybe you’ve got a wedding planned, or a vacation coming up. Maybe just the thought of the weekend coming, or having a few moments to yourself later today is all you need.

The Israelites needed hope when they fought the Amalekites in the desert of Rephidim. They’d been wandering around in the wilderness of Sin {oh, the irony!} without water for days. Having just been refreshed with water from the stone at Massah, they found themselves at war. The Amalekites were descendants of Esau and they hated the Israelites because of that little incident over a birthright, which you can read about in Genesis 25.  You can bet that they fought just as savagely, as their descendants do today because of another birthright incident. Joshua and the Israelites needed hope for the battle.

They found it by looking to Moses and their God. During the battle, Moses stood on a high hill, with arms raised. The staff of the Lord in his  hand. As long as Moses’ arms were raised, the Israelites were winning.

Ever try to stand with your arms raised above your head for very long? Moses was an old man. He grew tired and his arms grew heavy. When he put his arms down, the Amalekites gained the upper hand in the battle. So Aaron and Hur gave Moses a rock on which to sit, and they held up his arms for him. The Israelites won the battle, and Moses made an alter to the Lord.

And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner, saying, "A hand upon the throne of the LORD! The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." Exo 17:15-16

We are in a war of sorts. Every day the enemy tries to tear us down, or slip us up. Dreams and family, vacations and the weekend are all good things to look forward to, but ultimately our hope, our triumph is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Co 15:57

And don’t you just love Paul’s therefore:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1Co 15:58

Here we are, Beloved. Our labor is not in vain. God is our banner. Jesus stands on the hill, arms raised. Nailed to a cross.

Our hope, our victory is in Him.  He is the source and object of our faith.

 

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Lord, You are our banner. The hope set before us.

We trust in Your promise to lead and guide us.

Steadfast and immovable.

In Jesus name,

Amen,

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Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,

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