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Friday, October 31, 2014

Believe Him

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18 NIV).

To truly forget the former things, and not dwell on the past, we can't just believe in Jesus Christ, we must believe Him. To be free from worries that control our lives, we must believe He is who He says He is. We must believe that He will do what He says. We must believe that we can forget the former things, and they will not control our lives. I am free in Him. You are free in Him, but we must believe Himnot just believe in Him.
 
When you first know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you believe in Him. To believe Him and what He promises, you grow in His Word and in His grace. If you are not growing in your Christian life through committed prayer, bible study and worship, you will not be able to believe Him. If you are daily growing in Him, you have the power to choose to believe Him. Forgetting the former things than have controlled your life is a choice. You choose to believe Him, and you receive His strength for your weakness. You choose to trust in what He says in His Word, and He honors that choice with more faith. Just as He gives us the freedom to accept or reject Him as Savior, He gives us the freedom to choose to believe Him or not. He doesn't make us believe Him, but it is His greatest desire for us to grow in His truth and to believe Him. If we believe in Him as Savior and are seeking Him each day, we have the power to believe Him as Lord. If I submit all that I struggle with to Him, He will become Lord of it. I don't have to try to control or decide anything. If you and I will choose to believe Him, and let Him take care of what tortures our minds, we will discover that the former things can be forgotten.
 
When we believe what He says in His Word is true, we believe Him. Newness springs up, the old is no more, and we can perceive His truth instead of the lies of our past or circumstance of which the enemy is so quick to remind us. Believing Him brings the greatest promise! It is a promise that no matter what we face He is our strength, and He brings life-giving streams of hope and promise to the barren deserts of our lives. Choose what He promises! “I am making a way in the wilderness,” He proclaims, “and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise” (Isaiah 43:19-21, NIV).




Thursday, October 30, 2014

His Vision and Calling


For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means” (2 Corinthians 8:9-11, NIV).

Do you have something you believe God has called you to do―a vision that you believe in with all of your heart? Is it something into which you have poured your heart and soul? Maybe you have not seen the work of your hands bring you closer. Perhaps you have become weary because of constant struggle for it to become real. You are tired, and ready to walk away. You might have forgotten that you do not own the vision or your calling. The vision from God and the calling He has given you belong to Him. You are only the hands and feet. It takes His power to accomplish His purpose in your life.

The Lord does not want you to give up. He just wants the best you can offer now in this time of your life. “Now finish the work” Paul writes, “according to your means.” You can only finish to the best of your ability according to what you have been given. God's perfect will is for the vision to be completed, but you can't make a vision happen―even from all you have done to inspire others to catch your vision. If you have given the work your very best, God will bring it to completion in His time with the support of those around you, or He will give you another means to achieve it. Just give what you have now, and finish it to be best of your ability. That is all you can do. It is His promise for the work to be completed.

As rich as Jesus was He made himself poor for your sake, and has made you rich in His purpose. If He is your life and purpose, one day He will accomplish your vision and calling through the work you offer now. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Peace and Contentment

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV).

Without God in our life, we can never know true contentment and peace. Nothing in this hectic world can offer such peace―no possession, no person, no joyful anticipation. Only God promises spiritual contentment and peace, and that is something the world can never give. Paul wrote that he had learned to be content in every circumstance. Whether that circumstance was joyful and inspiring or hard and discouraging, Paul knew contentment and peace.

Paul's contentment came from a strong and deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He didn't want to be in prison, and he certainly didn't want to be dependent on others to provide for his needs. But, no matter what he faced, he was content. His eyes were not on what He was around him, but upon His Savior. God gave him peace, and a purpose to fulfill. Fulfilling His purpose only strengthened Paul's faith in God's provision. His incarceration could not stop him from trusting God to meet all his needs. His chains could not keep him from writing of God's great goodness. He had learned the secret of being content in every circumstance.

Often we discover that many things are just impossible for us. We cannot find contentment and peace in our circumstances. Struggling doesn't help. Railing at God doesn't help. In fact, it makes it worse. But there is a peace that passes our human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). When we know God as intimately as Paul, we can give Him all that rages in our life, and take refuge in Him. Paul's life shows us that is it absolutely possible to have peace and contentment when we trust God. The secret is to know God intimately and completely. This takes commitment, prayer, and a desire for more of the Lord and less of what the world offers.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” Jesus said. “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27, NIV). I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV). His peace is not dependent upon what the world or circumstances offer. We may have trouble in this life, but we do not need to fear. He has over overcome whatever we face. When we seek Him with all of our being, we will find Him and discover His peace. We realize that nothing is impossible for Him. We can boldly face whatever is to come with His peace and His purpose. Just as Paul, we can rise and do whatever God calls us to do. All things are possible through Jesus Christ who gives us the strength to accomplish it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

HURDLES

"Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls" (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message).
 
What would you think of the runner who gave up when faced with the first obstacle in a race? That hurdle is meant to lift him upward―to inspire him to greater ability and not pull him back. What about your life and the race you are running for Jesus Christ? What is your reaction when you face hurdles in your Christian walk? Do you allow them to lift you to greater heights of faith in Him, or defeat you before you reach the finish line? Life will always present hurdles. It is what you do with those hurdles that inspire life or death.
 
What is your hurdle at this moment? Keep your eyes on Jesus. Learn about how He was able to finish His race. He never lost sight of the promise at the end. He overcame the hurdles in His wayshame, ridicule, the cross. Nothing He faced defeated His race to the finish. No weapon that came against Him defeated Him. When you face your hurdles remember the hatred that Jesus faced. Remember His commitment and obedience to stay the course. He held out to the end of His race for your sake.

Running your race in Jesus Christ takes spiritual exercise. You must be “stretched to the maximum” for the greatest benefit! That involves pain. With exercise that pain lessens, and muscle mass forms. You have greater strength to overcome each obstacle. When you feel you have lost your wind and can't jump another hurdle, the Holy Spirit grants a second wind that carries you farther along. Just as a runner experiences well-being from his body producing endorphins, when you are “stretched to the maximum” you receive spiritual endorphins from the Holy Spirit that bring peace. Hurdles should stretch and drive you to His Word and to Him in prayer. Learning who He is and what He overcame for you “shoots adrenaline into your soul”. Obstacles then have the ability to inspire and not defeat you.
 
Are you ready to really run your race? Will you move forward, facing and springing over each obstacle with greater spiritual growth? Or will you run and hide and never discover the power He wishes to impart? Rise above your fears and stretch yourself to believe Him. Be diligent and committed to succeed. Allow each obstacle in life to challenge you to greater strength. Refuse any feelings of failure, and don't dwell on what the last hurdle did to you. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He began this work in you, and He will complete it. Trust in His power to face all that comes in life. Run your race until the hurdles of life no longer touch the peace you have found in Him.



Monday, October 27, 2014

Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

“Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18b-20, NIV).

Do you feel powerless? Do you struggle in your Christian walk? Does joy elude you? Do you feel in your heart there is something more, but you just can't grasp it? Perhaps you realize you need more of the Lord, but fear of total surrender holds you from seeking more of Him. The power of Pentecost is not just for those gathered on that day the Holy Spirit came over 2000 years ago. When He descended, He did not depart. The Holy Spirit waits for you now.

“Be filled with the Spirit,” Paul wrote to believers in Ephesians. Why do you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit when you have already received the Holy Spirit at the time you were born again? Because the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, which comes at the moment Jesus becomes Savior, is not the same occurrence as being filled with the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:11, Acts 1:4). Oh, yes, He is the same all-powerful Holy Spirit, but He does not stop at salvation. To be filled with all of Him, you must completely surrender yourself to His requirement to own every bit of your life. If you long for His power in your life, pray and seek Him. Absorb and obey His Word. Praise Him continually from your heart. Worship Him in His Spirit and in His Truth. He waits for you to give yourself away to Him.

Have you come to the place where you desperately need all He has for your life? Have you longed for more of Him, but has fear of letting go and allowing His power to claim your life held you back? Why would you be afraid of the very Savior who gave His life for you? He loves you beyond measure. Place upon His altar every preconceived notion that such an experience entails. Open your heart and life to Him. Don’t fear His presence or whatever He asks of you. Fall more greatly in love with your Savior than you ever though possible. He is your Savior, your Holy Father who wants the very best for you, and sees the best in you. He is the one who loves you no matter what, the one who died for you, the one who rose so that you can walk in new life. He redeems your past, heals the pain of the past, and imparts power in your life. 

In the moment you experience all of Him, you become whole. Perhaps you hadn't know before that you were fractured and not quite complete. But suddenly with His indwelling presence and power you know. And you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of His joy. You have been completed in Him.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

If You Love Him



“The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep'” (John 21:17, NIV).


Each one of us make mistakes. We fail each other unintentionally. We sometimes fail each other when trying to encourage or help each other. Caring for someone else is personal, and intimacy makes us vulnerable. It is during these times when we are vulnerable that we run the risk of being hurt. Loving and caring for someone is a risk, but it is also the greatest reward. It is in giving ourselves away that we discover more of Christ in our lives. Jesus showed this kind of sacrificial love when He gave His life for us. But sometimes in this giving ourselves away, we fail. Peter also failed. He failed Jesus at a coal fire the night before his death. He denied he even knew him. It was not Peter's intention to deny him. In fact, he had claimed earlier that he would never deny his Savior, but Jesus knew better. He knew Peter's human heart, and in the moment of crisis what would happen.

Have you ever failed a friend or someone who God has brought into your life? What do you do when that happens? You ask forgiveness from the Lord and from that person, but often you can't forgive yourself for your failure. You heart is torn and broken, and you become paralyzed—unable to move forward, speak, or do anything for fear of another failure. Peter hid after denying Christ. He was unable to bear his failure. Just as Jesus did not want Peter to hide in his misery, He wants the same for you and me. He wants us free of the pain of failure so we will continue to reach out to others.

Consider Peter and his brokenness after denying His Savior three times at a coal fire the night before His crucifixion. It was Peter's failure to forgive himself that finally brought him to another coal fire where Jesus waited. Peter had hidden himself long enough. The time for healing and restoration had come. In John 21:15-18 Jesus restores Peter's brokenness from his failure by asking Peter three times if he loves Him. Three times Peter had denied Jesus, and now it is no accident that Jesus asks him three times if he loves Him. Peter faces the Master He has loved and failed. He says what is really in his heart, and with each word he reaches for forgiveness. “Lord, you know that I love you,” he says. Each time Peter answers Jesus' question of “do you love me”, Jesus says to Peter “feed my lambs—take care of my sheep—feed my sheep.” Jesus doesn't focus on Peter's failure because the failure is past. Peter has been forgiven. He instructs Peter to focus on “feeding the sheep” and not on his failure. Jesus lifts the broken man to restoration and healing. It is no accident that this has occurred by a coal fire. The thought of a coal fire will never be one of failure for Peter again. It will be his place of healing.

Do you need Jesus to lift you from the bondage of failure that immobilizes you—that keeps you from living an abundant life in Him? He waits for you at your own coal fire. Your place of failure is not meant to be your defeat. He waits to make it your place of victory. Meet him there. He just asks you if you love Him.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Unmerited Favor of God


For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17, NIV).

Grace! God's grace looks past all my failures and sinGod's grace denies His righteous wrath for the sake of His Son's freely offered giftGod's grace reaches past all that I have been and extends mercy; His grace is free! It is His gift of love. His forgiveness costs me nothing because it cost Him everything. He was the perfect sacrifice for my sin. What He gave on Calvary was something that I could never earn through keeping a law. The law only exposes my sin. His grace forgives it. The unmerited favor of God brings His truth into my life. Without His truth to reveal sin, and His grace to deny it, I will fail. Jesus not only paid the price for my forgiveness. He also prays for me to be sanctified with His truth (John 17:17)for His grace to make a difference in who I am each day of my life. 
 
Lord, I am thankful for the moment you came into my life, and forgave me of my sins. Everything changed in that instant. I was no longer alone. I was no longer bound in the dregs of my past. In that instantin that moment, I knew I was loved no matter what I had done or been. Your love has set me free to be me. You always see my potential and lift me above the circumstances that try to destroy me. Your grace is more than sufficient for my every need. I thank you for the promise that where sins abounds, your grace abounds more. You walk with me everyday, but more incredibly and wonderfully you live inside me. It is your heart that loves through me, and it is your forgiveness that flows. I have none of my own. You make all the difference. You make my life complete, and for that I cannot give you enough praise. You are my life, and my God. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me beyond measurebeyond anything my limited mind can imagine. Lord, in the gift of your Son, you extended grace when you could have called for my eternal payment. You took my place. I am in awe of what you have done for me. Your grace is your unending and constant promise. Your unmerited loving favor has set me free. In the daily wonder of your grace, I am fulfilled.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jehovah Mekoddishkem



Jehovah Mekoddishkem is the name for the Lord who sanctifies and makes you holy. The anglicized version is “yeh-ho-vaw' M-qadash”. Mekoddishkem is derived from the Hebrew word “qadash” which means “holy” or “sanctify”. The Septuagint denotes this name, Jehovah Mekoddishkem, as “the Lord who sanctifies you”. This name can literally be translated as "the Lord who sets you apart." God is referred to as Jehovah Mekoddishkem only two times in the Old Testament. The first is in Exodus 31:13. “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.'” (NIV). The other is in Leviticus 20:8. “Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” (NIV). As we draw closer to Him and live obedient lives following His Word, we are set apart and sanctified.

Sanctification is derived from the Greek word “hagios”, which means “set apart for holiness”. This word refers to the day-by-day growing process that separation to God brings. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:15, NIV). As you separate your life from the things that would desecrate your life in Jesus Christ, you grow closer to the Lord and are in the process of being changed into His likenessholy and set apart of His purposes.

In John 17 Jesus prays for his disciples and for believers that are to come. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:16-19, NIV). Jesus set his own life apart (sanctified himself) for the purpose for which His father sent Him. He is our example. We are called to do the same. He sends us into the world to share His gospel of redeeming love, and we must set ourselves apart (sanctify ourselves) for His purpose. To be sent in His power, we must be set apart for His purpose. We are to sanctify ourselves by the truth of His Word. The call to share His Word and the call to be separated to God are inseparable. They go hand-in-hand. We can't share the love of a holy and forgiving Lord without living it ourselves.

Paul prays in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 for us to live holy lives until the day Jesus returns. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”(NIV). To live a holy life until the day He comes promises a great future “When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4, NIV). “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2b, NIV). In that moment He appears, we shall be totally separated from sin that has plagued us in this life. Completely and forever separated to Him, we will know Him as He has always known us. We will live with Him forever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

EXERCISE FAITH


You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV).


Think about what you are thinking about,” Joyce Meyer teaches. Instead of obsessing over and analyzing what is wrong in your life or the lies Satan throws at you or a promise that you haven't yet received, dwell on the Lord Jesus Christ, and what He has done for you. Dwell on His love that gave His life for you. Dwell on the fact that He loved you enough to take your failures and your sins to the cross so you can be free. Stay in His Word, and learn of His constant and abiding presence. Think continually about the strong omnipotent power that God promises for your life, and ask for it. Think constantly about laying your heart before Him, and seeking open heart-felt prayer with Him. Seek Him without ceasing. Focus your heart and mind and all your attention on the Almighty God who brings you new life. With a steadfast mind and heart, you will know His peace and receive greater faith. 
 
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Pray for greater faith to believe. Think about having greater faith to believe. Dwell on that thought. Keep it in your mind until it is what you think about continually. Get into the Word and learn that faith comes by hearing and understanding the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Read and pray for wisdom to discern the Word. He does not withhold it from you. He gives it generously (James 1:5). That wisdom helps you discern the author of your thoughts, and offers you His power to bring your thoughts under His control (2 Corinthians 10:5). He extends the power to you, but by faith you choose to exercise it. When you exercise your faith, it grows stronger.

Faith in God—faith in the truth of His Wordfaith in His promisesfaith in the fact He will never leave or forsake youfaith in who He says He isall these enable you to receive His power in your life. As you give Him the gift of your determined and mustard-seed faith, He gives His faith back to you with increasing power to believe. But never forget that faith and power must be exercised! Determine to overcome Satan's lies or your own fearful thoughts, and determine to believe in God's truth. His power and your faith go hand-in-hand. His power in you is completed by the faith you exercise.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Faith is My Choice


Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).

Do I have confidence in what I hope for? Do I have assurance about what I cannot see? If I have faith the size of a mustard seed, I must reach for confidence to believe in His promise. I must reach for His assurance for that which my physical eyes cannot see. I must plant my mustard-seed faith in order for it to take root and grow. I must make the effort to believe. He will not make me believe. He offers faith to believe. Just like He gives me a free will to choose Him or not, He also gives me a free will to believe or not. It is my choice.

The Word says that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is solid. He is constant. He is my anchor when all around heaves and rocks my life. He is trustworthy. If I have enough faith to believe He can save me from eternal destruction, then I should exemplify some faith in His trustworthiness to take care of my life here on earth. To have greater faith, I must pray and have close intimate communion with Him. In that time with Him, I learn that I can truly trust Him in every moment and every struggle. Obedience is necessary. I decide to choose faith over fear. Circumstances which arise that could throw me off balance or even defeat my mustard seed of faith, only become a springboard to greater faith. If I reach out in chosen confidence in Him, I can move forward in faith knowing that He will provide all that is needed. As I choose to believe and step out in faith, I realize my helplessness, and I turn to Him for power to accomplish what I cannot. In my weakness, I realize His strength, and my faith is nurtured.

Faith is my weapon to overcome all that might come against me. I learn what my faith is worth when it is tested. Without faith, life will defeat me. With faith, I allow Him to control what I was never created to control. Faith is my power to accomplish His will, and, in doing so, learn that He is constant and trustworthy in every moment. Faith is His gift to me. My faith in Him, which requires His work to be alive and well in my life, is my gift to Him. I will not grow tired in choosing faith in Him. I will not grow tired in serving Him. I know that once I have done His will, I will receive His promise (Hebrews 10:35-36).



Monday, October 20, 2014

Captivated to be His Aroma


“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life”(2 Corinthians 2:14-16, NIV).

An aroma can be defined as “an agreeable odor or fragrance”. A less known definition is “a pervasive characteristic or quality”. These verses in 2 Corinthians speak of my life as a Christian, and how God wishes to use me to spread the knowledge of His love. As a captive of Christ, I give off a “pleasing aroma” to the Lord. To one who is seeking the Lord, my aroma is the fragrant odor of His life, but to the one who is spiritually dying, my aroma is the stench of death. My life should be so deeply pervaded with His presence and captivated by His will that everything about me emits an odor of spiritual wholeness in Him. However, the spiritual aroma of Christ in my life can become dampened by attitudes that are self-focused instead of God-focused.

What kind of spiritual aroma does my life offer? What comes to someone's mind when they hear my name? Would they like to spend time with me or run from my presence? Do hope, peace, and joy pervade my life? Do I encourage with the love of Christ or do I offer the despair of an ugly and negative spirit? Am I so concerned with never receiving my own promise that my heart is envious of someone else receiving theirs? Does my life speak His peace and contentment or is it filled with the misery of self-pity? Do I live my life joyfully focused on Him or does a bad attitude claim my mind? If everything is about me, then I become a selfish person instead of the selfless one that the Lord calls me to be. Self-pity brings feelings of rejection, and then I isolate myself from others. Bitterness claims my mind and heart, and I drive others away by erecting a wall no one can easily climb. I cannot serve the god of “self-pity”, and also be the aroma of Christ.

If I am captivated by His presence, then I belong to Him. There is no room for selfishness or jealousy or bitterness. If Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life, then I am lead triumphantly by the Holy Spirit, and my life draws others to Him instead of pushing them away. I choose everyday whether I allow myself to be the aroma of Christwhether I allow Him to live and love through me. If my heart is truly Hisif my mind is focused on Himif I seek Him and obediently live for Him, my life should share His promise of new life instead of sharing the stench of death which comes from a self-consumed heart. If my life is not about me, I offer His life. And through a yielded life, He can draw others to Him.

If I choose Him as my Lord instead of the god of “self-pity”, He sets my stony heart free. If I choose Him over all that I feel that I deserve and allow Him to guide my heart and claim my mind, I become focused on His will instead of my own. “For here’s what I’m going to do......” He promises. “I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!” (Ezekiel 36: 26-28, MSG).

If I draw close to Him, He will draw close to me. If I choose Him above all else, He will set my stony heart free. He will be my God in every way. My life will no longer be consumed with what I want, but with what He wills. If I am captivated completely by Him, then I shall be the aroma of Christ.

Friday, October 17, 2014

HIS WORK


The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

If you are living a purpose-driven life for Christ, there will be times when others do not understand the work you do for Him. They will judge your motives or question if you are really doing what God has called you to do. Don't hinder His work by feeling you have to justify your calling. If you try, you will fail, and it will bring spiritual frustration. It is not your place to explain. It is His place. Any explanation or justification must come from Him. Just do your work in His name, and the result will be your reward.

Keep your heart humble and pliable in His hands. Realize those who question your calling have their own hurts, pains, and needs. Place yourself in their shoes to understand the reasons that they question your motives. Pray for these reasons to be resolved in their lives. Sometimes it is jealousy because they feel inadequate in their own Christian lives. Sometimes it is jealously that God has not brought forth their own promise. Sometimes it comes from spiritual legalism. Whatever the problem, don't try to take care of it within your own strength. In any difficulty with another put yourself in his place and pray that his problem with you will be resolved. Be humble enough to know that you are not perfect, and sometimes there must be a change in your own perspective.

The power to realize the needs of others can only come through a yielded and loving life. It can only come by continual contact with God in prayer and purpose. You can't do your work without deep spiritual contact with Him, and you can't put yourself in another person's place without His love alive and well in you.

When you understand your calling and live itwhen you know you don't have to justify it when you put yourself in someone's place to understand why he might judge youwhen you pray for God to work mightily in that person's lifewhen you pray for God to keep you humblewhen you honestly assess what you do in His namewhen your will is totally yielded to Godthen you are walking in His spirit. You are an instrument to be used at God's will. You will know the fulfillment of being in His will, and the flowing freedom of His spirit.

Your purpose is to live a life which reveals His power working through a surrendered and yielded life. His purpose is to do the work.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

God is All-Powerfull


Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He is with me constantly. His presence protects and guides me. He helps me no matter what I face. I will not falter in my prayers. I will be determined, and believe He hears each one. He is all-powerful. I will say that again and again. Faith will rise. He gives ALL of His power to grant my petition.

If I dwell on the negative, I give permission to the enemy to claim my thoughts. If I face life with a hopeless attitude, I will not be able to rise in faith. I will dwell on the positive and His faithfulness until expectancy grows in my heart. I will focus all my thoughts upon His great love, and the fact He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He speaks peace to my mind, and the enemy speaks turmoil, despondency and despair.

My God is all-powerful. He loves me, and He is with me. He desires my love, my obedience, and my trust in return. I will think about these truths over and over until they are ingrained in my mind. I will wake expectantly each morning, and dwell upon His faithfulness until there is no room for the enemy's lies.

I will praise Him until my heart rejoices with His love. I will praise Him until faith rises into great trust and I believe in His omnipotent power, and His overwhelming personal concern for my life. I will say “He is all-powerful” until it is ingrained in my very being and etched in my mind. I will say it over and over until victory is secured, and peace reigns.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Hope You Profress

Bar your mind against doubt and fear. Bar the windows and doors of your souls against them. The enemy is the thief who comes to steal and destroy your faith. Create a fortress in your mind that allows no access.

You have been given great gifts of peace, joy, and love. These gifts can be taken away by doubt and fear. Anchor peace, joy and love in your spirit, and face each day with praise for God's faithfulness. Laugh at the enemy's lies...for that is what they are. Lies. You will discover that God's anchor holds strong.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Unswervingly profess your hope. Speak it until the healing balm of His presence protects you from the lies that bring fear. Repeat that “all is well” until the wound in your spirit is healed. He is faithful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

His Daily Call

He calls me, and I will obey. Whatever comes against me will not succeed if I stay focused on His purpose. There will be hard times, but I must keep calm in His never-changing purpose and unlimited power. If I lose my peace for even a moment, I must give Him my unrest, and my struggle. I must regain His peace (Philippians 4:6-7). I can accomplish nothing when I am upset and stressed out. In giving Him all that I face, I get rid of my selfish needs, and concentrate on His purpose for me.

I will always believe that I can do what He has called me to do. He is faithful and will do the work (1 Thessalonians 5:24). But His work is only accomplished by His spirit working through me. I must surrender all my desires for His. I must surrender what I consider my inadequacies for His ability. I must surrender. In my surrender I discover His power.

Focusing on His call, I will concentrate on the daily things which need be done to work toward His vision. If I lose the focus, I will lose the purpose for my life. If I rush the work to attain His purpose, I will become discouraged by the immensity of it all. Daily I lay down my cross, and ask Him to come, and lead. I will remember each day that He never asks me to do something without providing the power to accomplish it. And in Him, I can do whatever He asks.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Peace in Letting Go and Letting God


Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20).

Jesus Christ stands and knocks at the door to your heart. He invites you to a life which you cannot comprehend with the human mind. It is a life of utter peace and trust in His abundant faithfulness–a life of spiritual joy. His invitation promises to carry you beyond your avenue of analytical thought to one of rest that no matter what happens in this life all is well. This invitation offers respite from the hectic pace of this world. “Be still and know that I am God” takes on a whole new meaning. When you get to the place that you don’t struggle anymore, you can find peace in just knowing He is God, and He is in control. "Come to me,” He whispers in your tempest, “and I will give you rest."

Do you long to relinquish this struggle–this pain, but you resist that which promises release? You try to keep things in control, but find out that you can't. Letting go of your struggle to control what you can't control brings peace. Letting go admits you don't have the answer. Letting go means you put your trust in what can't be seen, but what must be trusted. Even when you shut the door of your heart to His knock, He never stops knocking.  Even when you turn from His promise of peace, He never turns away. Even when He finds your heart all closed and barred behind your fortress of pain, He continues on in His constant offer of peace. “Let go, and let me,” He whispers.

The harder you struggle the stronger His constant knock. The harder you resist the greater your pain. Suddenly the exhaustion of your battle is too much. Suddenly you can no longer bar that door. Suddenly, surrender is your only option. It is your only hope. You must let go and believe. You must open the door to His knock.

When you let go of all you have tried to handle and open the door, peace enters your heart. His peace which has waited patiently on the other side of that door is now yours. No more war inside your heart. No more need to have answers. You are free in Him, and free of fear from the hard issues that life has brought. There will always be issues, but you will be free from their ability to control your life. Fear which has defined your life has ended. You realize that God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of peace, and love, and a sound mind (1 Timothy 1:7). His perfect love has cast out your fear (1 John 4:18). He shall continue to keep you in His peace when you allow Him to handle what you were never created to handle (Philippians 4:6-7). If you keep your mind on Him instead of what comes against you, you will know His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Letting Him have control has brought the peace your heart has struggled so hard to find.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Jehovah Raah


We have covered many names of God during the past few days. Today's name is one that speaks of safety and security in a world that offers none. In Psalm 23:1 we discover than“Jehovah-Raah” means “The Lord is my shepherd”. This verse continues with “I shall not want.” This is the name for the Lord which promises we shall not lack anything. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of that promise. “I am the good shepherd,” Jesus said. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11, NIV). Jesus became our shepherd by giving His life for us. Just as a shepherd assumes the responsibility for the care and well-being of his sheep, so Christ takes compete responsibility for our care and well-being. The Lord as “Jehovah Raah” is the shepherd who provides loving care for His people. He is the same great “Jehovah Jireh” that is powerfully on time with His provision. In this Jehovah God, we are saved by His redeeming love. All that we could ever want or need is found in our shepherd, who paid our price in full.

Sheep always need a shepherd to protect and care for them. We, just like sheep, are completely defenseless and dependent on a shepherd. Prey attack sheep, and bad environmental conditions put them in grave danger. We are also attacked, and face danger from our enemy. “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 1:8b, NIV). A shepherd protects His sheep at all cost―sometimes to even the point of death. Jesus gave His life on the cross as our Good Shepherd. He had the power to save himself, but he chose to give His life for you and me. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, NIV).

I am the good shepherd,” Jesus continues. “I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord”(John 10:14-18a, NIV). The gift of His life is not for just a certain view. It is for all mankind. Jesus is the Good Shepherd over all who come to believe in Him. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIV). To know and believe that “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want”, we must know Him as the Good Shepherd who gave His life for our sake.

Friday, October 10, 2014

ADONAI


The name of God , “Adonai”, means “Lord and Master”. Because “Yahweh” is considered too holy to be spoken by the Hebrews, “Adonai”, and sometimes “Jehovah” are the two names which are interchangeably spoken in its place. “Adonai” is plural, and can be translated as “my lords”. “Adon” is the singular form of “adonai” and refers to a human who is a master. In the old Testament “Adon” is used 215 times in reference to man, and “Adonai” (sometimes as “Jehovah”) is used over 200 times in reference to God. Whichever name is used, it speaks of submission and obedience to someone who has authority.

The first time “Adonai” is used is in Genesis 15:1-2 when God speaks to Abram. “After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision. 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.' But Abram said, 'Sovereign Lord (“Adonai”), what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?'” (Genesis 15:1-2, NIV). Through many hard years God had been “Lord and Master” to Abram in many ways. When God called Abram to leave his homeland and follow Him, Abram had no idea who this God was that was calling him. The call was so strong and so clear to Abram that he surrendered, and packed up his family and moved―trusting God to lead him and not knowing at all where he was headed. During many years after leaving Ur, Abram had always relied on God to take care of his family. Now in these two verses Abram seems to agonize over the one thing means the world to him―having a son. Although the Lord told Abram in Geneses 15:1 that He, the Lord, was Abram's “great reward”, Abram longed for a son and heir to which to leave everything he owned . In Genesis 15:2 Abram told “Adonai” that there was something else he wanted and needed beside God as his reward. In fact, it was something that Abram desired more than God at this moment in his life. He spoke the name “Adonai”, but he had not allowed God to be his “Lord and Master” more than his desire for a son. 

Just as Abram we often say that God is our “Lord and Master”, and our lives say something very different. Instead of God being the ruler of our lives, something else takes His place. That ruling idol can be power, money, possessions, alcohol, drugs, food, children, and the list goes on. Even good things in our lives can master us. Church can become more important than the Lord. Doing things for others can become more important. Whatever we put before God becomes the thing that claims our devotion and rules our lives. God wants to be more than a lip-service “Adonai” we just honor when we feel like it. He longs to be more than the temporary “Adonai” we seek during hard times. He longs to be our real and permanent “Adonai” in every moment of our lives. 

This morning I look at myself. Is He more than “lip service” to me? Do I run to Him only when I have a huge problem in my life? Do I long for a promise or a need to be fulfilled more than I long for Him? When I surrender all that I am―all my perceived needs, my thoughts, my life-style, my will―to “Adonai”, my faithful and loving “Lord and Master”, He becomes my “greatest reward”. He is all that I need. When He is first in my heart and mind, I am at rest in my desires. I am at rest in His presence. Life is peaceful even when circumstances rage. It is content even when everything is not perfect around me because, in placing him first, I have discovered His joy. I know the love of this “Lord and Master” who gave His life so that I might live. He surrendered all to me. Now I long to surrender all to Him. He is my “Adonai”.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

JEHOVAH JIREH

The name of God, “Jehovah Jireh”, occurs only once in Genesis 22, and it means “The Lord Who Provides”. When the Lord called for Abraham's willingness to give up his son―for Abraham to put his love for God above all else, Abraham heart-brokenly followed the Lord's instruction. He built an altar, not understanding why the loving God who had miraculously given him Isaac in his old age, would now ask for him in return. God's purpose was not to wound Abraham, and take away the son he loved so much. It was a lesson in willing obedience. There on the mountain the Lord halted Abraham's obedience, and provided a ram instead. “So Abraham called the name of that place 'The Lord Will Provide', and it is said to this day, on the mount of the Lord it will be provided” (Exodus 22:14, AMP).
“Jehovah Jireh's” provision of the ram is a powerful testimony to Abraham's great faith and trust in God's character. Abraham followed God's instruction knowing not only was he called to offer his beloved son, but that in Isaac the promise he would be the father of a multitude of nations rested. The provision of the ram is a statement of faith that God does not abandon the children that He loves. The meaning of “The Lord Will Provide” was very real to Abraham when God stopped the sacrifice of his son, and provided a ram. In obedience to the test, Abraham was faithful to the last second, and God answered His faithfulness with His provision.
Why would God ask for something so precious from Abraham? The altar is our place of worship, and nothing should stand in the way of our “life offering” to God. The Lord didn't want Abraham to love anything or anyone greater than he loved Him. It is the same for us. God desires our love for Him to be above all else. “In worship”, Matt Martin said last night, “we lay our most price possession on the altar. There is nothing that gets between us and God.” The Lord longs for our willingness to lay all our prized possessions upon His altar. The Lord laid His most prized possession, Jesus Christ His son, on the altar for us. All He asks in return is our love and obedience.
“Isn't this what our heart longs for when we need the Lord to rescue us? We long for the Lord to save and provide. God sacrificed His own son for us. He doesn't expect us to sacrifice our own “son” in return, but He does ask us to sacrifice sin in our life and everything that separates us from Him. He asks for our heart to love and honor Him above everything else. Just as Abraham faithfully trusted God to provide, so we too need to trust Him. We yearn for a God who sees our need and provides for us. Sometimes we don't really understand what our need really is, but He knows and will bring it to light. When we put God first in our heart and life, He will always be sure that our needs are met. Just as He did for Abraham, He is never late and completely provides. “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, AMP).




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jehovah Rapha

Rapha” is derived from the Hebrew word “rapa” which means “restore” or “heal”. Since “Jehovah” means “to be”, God desires His people “to be” restored emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This word reveals that God has the power to restore a life that is broken or diseased to the original state He created it to be―one that is clean, healed, and in one accord with His Spirit. “Jehovah Rapha” is the Lord “who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, who heals [each one of] all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3, AMP). 

The first example of “Jehovah Rapha” is in Exodus 15. The Israelites had been rescued from captivity in Egypt. After crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, and praising God for their salvation, they wandered in the deserts for three days thirsty and seeking fresh water. They came to Marah and they couldn't drink its bitter water. “The people murmured against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?'” (Exodus 15:24, AMP). The Lord showed Moses a tree which he threw into the water, and the waters were made sweet and fresh. “If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do what is right in His sight, and will listen to and obey His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord (Jehovah Rapha) who heals you” (Exodus 15:26, AMP). How many times do we complain about our circumstance, and God allows it to teach us to lean on Him? Just as He restored the water at Marah, He has the power to restore our lives. If we will obey and faithfully live for Him, we shall know Him as the Lord who restores and heals. 

The Lord heals emotional pain and hearts that are broken. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows]” (Psalm 137:3, AMP). The word “broken” means “to reduce to pieces or fragments”. The Lord comes against our pain with his great power and smashes it to fragments. “Bind” means “to bandage”. He “bandages” and cures the emotional fragments of our lives that we lay on His altar, and imparts healing from our brokenness.

Physical healing is also His promise. When trying to reason the emotional and physical pain that comes with physical sickness, many times we end up in complete despair. It might be our own pain or perhaps it is for someone else. When there is pain and suffering, we are forced to face the truth that we are not in control. We face our own limitations. Some freeze up in fear and can't function. Others are driven deep into the Lord's presence. Seeking Him with all their heart, they cry “heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise”(Jeremiah 17:14, AMP)! This cry is one of faith that He is who He says He is. Jesus “our Jehovah Rapha” answers our cry. We experience the amazing truth that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole” (Isaiah 53:5, AMP).

For His promises of emotional and spiritual healing to be true, our first need is to be spiritually healed. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it [perceive, understand, be acquainted with his own heart and mind]?” (Jeremiah 17:9, AMP). “Jehovah Rapha” knows the sin that lives in the human heart, and the destruction it brings. We all fall short of God's standard, and are spiritually in desperate need of the healing that the precious blood of Jesus Christ imparts (Isaiah 53:5). God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, “to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound” (Jeremiah 61:1b, AMP). When we give Him our sinful heart, God promises “a new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezekiel 36:26a, AMP). We are restored completely by His sacrificial love offered freely at Calvary. 

The wounds of an Almighty God, who loved me enough to die for me, have healed my life.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

JEHOVAH NISSI


For the next few days, we are going to look at “Jehovah” in conjunction with some other names of God. Jehovah comes from “havah”, the Hebrew name which means “to exist” or “to be”. Yesterday, we saw God as the great “I AM” that existed before all else. The name “Jehovah” denotes God as the “I AM”of the universe (Yahweh) who reveals himself as the God who wishes “to become known”. He is the all-powerful “Jehovah” (Yahweh) who wishes to have a relationship with the people He has created.

Jehovah” in conjunction with “Nissi” is only mentioned once in the old Testament, and that is in Exodus 17. “Nissi” is derived from the word “nes”, which means “banner” in Hebrew. In Exodus 17:15, Moses, having just defeated the Amalekites, erected an altar to “Jehovah Nissi”. The word “nes” can be demonstrated by the example of a flag mounted on a pole as a focal point in battle. In old Testament history (and even much later throughout centuries) opponents in war flew their own flag on their front lines. This focal point reminded soldiers of their purpose. When they focused their mind to win, they received encouragement that their efforts would not be in vain. This is what God “Jehovah Nissi” is to us. He is our focal point, our “banner” on which we can focus our mindall our thoughts, strength, hope, belief, and life. Isaiah wrote of God as this “banner”. “You guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You” (Isaiah 26:3, AMP).

In the Septuagint (the Greek version of the old Testament written for Jews two centuries before Christ) the word “nissi” is translated as “refuge”. When I focus all that I amall that I believeall that I liveall of my being on His unfailing standard, character, promise, and purpose, then He is my refuge in whatever comes before me. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High (Elyon) shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai) [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust” (Psalm 91:1-2, AMP). He is not only my “banner” whose focus in my life gives strength and purpose; He is my refuge and my fortress in the heat of battle. He is my strength to stand against all evil. When I put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), no weapon can come against me.

The next verse following Isaiah 26:3 explains the faith that I can have in the Lord, my banner and my refuge, when my mind and whole life is focused on Him. “So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages]” (Isaiah 26:4, AMP). Yes, He is “Jehovah Nissi”, the one in whom I will always trust.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"I AM" YHWH


What is this Hebrew name of God―”YHWH”? The modern spelling for this name is “Yahweh”which has vowels to help pronounce it. By Jewish tradition, this name of God cannot be spoken because it is too holy. Three hundreds years following Christ, the Jewish people stopped saying “Yahweh” in fear of breaking the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (Exodus 20:7). Since the name “Yahweh” became too holy to be pronounced, it was replaced with “Adonai” also meaning “Lord”. “Adonai” denotes the mercy of a divine and all-powerful God. In the Septuagint (which is the Greek version of the old Testament written for Jews two centuries before Christ) “Yahweh” means “Lord and Master”. “Yahweh” is likewise referenced many times as “Jehovah” (also meaning “Lord”). The references to “Yahweh” occur over 6000 times in the old Testament. 

God reveals for the first time in Exodus that He is “Yahweh”. God had just instructed Moses that He is to go to the Israelites held in slavery in Egypt and tell them that God will set them free. Moses asked God what he was to tell the Israelites about who sent him. “And God said to Moses, 'I Am Who I Am and What I Am, and I Will Be What I Will Be;' and He said, 'You shall say this to the Israelites: I Am has sent me to you!' God said also to Moses, 'This shall you say to the Israelites: The Lord, the God of your fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has sent me to you! This is My name forever, and by this name I am to be remembered to all generations'”(Exodus 3:14-15, AMP). “I AM” is “Yahweh”, “Jehovah”, and “Adonai”. He is the Lord and Master who sets His people free from bondage. His name is to be remembered forever.

Yahweh”, as the great “I AM”, has no beginning and no end. There was nothing before Him. There was no realitynothing. He existed before all else. He needs nothing or no one to help Him, counsel Him, or support Him. Everything that is not of God is still totally dependent on God. He created the universe, and He alone allows it to continue. As amazed as we might be by the magnificence of the universe, compared to God it is nothing. God never changes. No improvement is necessary. He is same today, yesterday, and forever. He is not becoming “more” or “greater”. He already is “I AM”. God is the absolute standard of truth. There is no law to which He submits. He himself reveals what is right and what is true. He alone is the final authority. God does as He wishes, and it is always in agreement with His absolute truth. He never violates His own standard. God is the most important reality. He is over any reality that sets itself above His own will. Any reality that exists outside of Him is still under His authority because He is “Who I Am and What I Am and I will Be What I Will Be”. His reality reigns above all else in the universe . He is “I AM”, and yet the great “I AM” has come to set me free from bondage. Nothing is more amazing than that the God of the universe has become my Savior.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

El ELYON

        Today we look at the name “El Elyon”―another of the old Testament names of God. There is no way that I can write of all I have found so I will present what has impressed me.

        As we learned yesterday, “EL” means “God”. Today we learn that “Elyon” literally means "Most High". When “El” is joined with “Elyon”, this aspect of God's character means “God Most High”. God reigns with authority and in majesty. “I will cry to God Most High,” the psalmist wrote, “who performs on my behalf and rewards me [who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]” (Psalm 57:2, AMP)! This “God Most High” moves on my behalf, and and not only brings about His purpose for my life, but completes what He begins in me.

        “El” used in conjunction with “Elyon” first occurs in Genesis 14:18-22 where Melchizedek, a priest of God and king of Salem (Jerusalem) was honored by Abram with a tenth of the spoils he had taken when rescuing his nephew, Lot, from the hands of those who had defeated Sodom. Melchizedek favors Abram with God's blessing, and refers to God as “God Most High”. The King of Sodom is so thankful that Abram has rescued his people from captivity, he tells Abram to keep the goods that were taken from Sodom. “But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted up my hand and sworn to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor and Maker of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a shoelace or anything that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich'” (Genesis 4:22-23, AMP). “El Elyon” is a name that denotes great and final authority. “El Elyon” is the creator and the owner of heaven and earth. So what is offered to honor Him comes from what He already owns. In these verses, “El Elyon” is the authority who is honored by giving; He is the authority by which one blesses, and by which one swears an oath. Another occurrence in its compound form is found in Psalm 78:35. “And they [earnestly] remembered that God was their Rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer” (AMP). Here “El Elyon” is one who delivers and saves. He is one whose authority is recognized and majesty is honored. “El Elyon” has a purpose in the lives of those who honor Him.

        There are other occurrences in Bible where “Elyon” stands alone and occurs without “El”. These occurrences are found in the Psalms, Numbers 24:16, Deuteronomy 32:8. In Isaiah 14.:14 “Elyon” is used as one who inspired great envy and jealously in Satan. “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:4, (AMP).

        Whether occurring with “El” or without “El”, the “Most High” one over all the earth reigns in sovereignty and final authority. Because of His majesty He deserves my highest respect and praise. I must never assume to put myself in His place, but I often do when I make my own decisions without seeking His will. The Most High God is my judge, and the one who has the authority to forgive me. When I come to Him in repentance honoring His authority, He delivers and saves me from all that I have been. He hears my cry, and moves on my behalf. He blesses and rewards me. God is not only my high and sovereign Rock. He is my Redeemer.

Friday, October 3, 2014

EL SHADDAI

There is so much that can be studied about the name of God, “El Shaddai”. Actually a book could be written. Today I would like to write about some of what I have found and what it means to me.

In the old Testament God is called “El Shaddai” 7 times. The first reference is in Genesis 17:1 where God refers to himself as “God Almighty”. The nameEl” translates as "God" and is used several times with other names to show aspects of God's character. In this case, “El” is used simultaneously with “Shaddai”. Some scholars believe that “Shaddai” comes from the Hebrew word “shad” which means “breast”. The word “breast” reminds us of a God who nourishes and satisfies His children. In several verses in Genesis the name “El Shaddai” is connected with being fruitful. One of these verses is: “May God Almighty (El Shaddai) bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you until you become a group of peoples (Gen. 28:3, AMP). Another verses states “By the God of your father, who will help you, and by the Almighty (El Shaddai), who will bless you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings lying in the deep beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb” (Gen. 49:25, AMP). The nourishment that “breast” denotes is connected to new life that springs from the womb. The nourishment which comes from “El Shaddai” brings great spiritual life, blessings, fulfillment. 

Other scholars believe that the word comes from the Akkadians, who at one time inhabited Mesopotamia (the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers). The Akkadian word from which “Shaddai” might be taken is “sadu”, which means “divine mountain”. In Exodus 6:3 “El Shaddai” is revealed to be the God that called Abram (Abraham). “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them” (Exodus 6:3, NIV). Some scholars believe that since God called Abram out of Mesopotamia that the term “sadu” (divine mountain) traveled with him and became a reference to the Lord God Almighty. Another thought is that “Shaddai” or “divine mountain” is also used in reference to Mount Sinai.... the mountain of God's great power. This study can go on and on.

This morning “El Shaddai” is the only nourishment that fully satisfies my soul, and brings fulfillment to my life. He breathes life in His Word. He is water from the well that never runs dry. He is the food that forever satisfies my spiritual hunger. He is my answer for all that comes against me. And when life is hard, and I feel weak, and drained, His nourishment still supplies me. He becomes my strong tower... my mountain to which I can run. I realize all the nourishment and help I need comes from Him. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, NIV). He is my “El Shaddai” that gives me all I need to stand strong.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What's in His Name?



William Shakespeare wrote that “ a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The beautiful smell of a rose would still be just as real even if that rose had another name. Then there are the different names of God in the old Testament that are used to describe each aspect of His character. No other name will suffice for each part of our God's personality. Each name reveals part of His very nature. In the time of the old Testament, a person's name revealed something about the person who held it. For instance Abraham means “a father of a great multitude”, and he was the father of the great Hebrew nation. All the way through the His Word, God explains who He is through His names. If God created and knew us before we were even born (Psalm 139:13-15), we should also know Him by His names.

In the Lord's prayer, the first thing Jesus says after addressing His father in heaven is “hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9, KJV). When we “hallow” something we honor it. It is sacred, precious, and holy. For God to be precious and holy, we exalt Him about all other things. He is our Savior who is worthy of our complete surrender, adoration, and worship. “Stand up and praise the Lord your God,” Nehemiah declared, “who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise (Nehemiah 9:5b, NIV)! God's name is worthy of all praise! We should never treat His name without the respect it is due. “Do not profane my holy name for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy” (Leviticus 22:32, NIV). We honor the Lord by allowing His name to be revered not only by what we say but how we live. To revere and honor Him, we must know who He is.

For several days I would like to study and explore the spiritual depth of some of the names of God. Who is God to you? Is He your healer? Is He the Lord who provides? Is He your master? Is He your peace? Do you know Him as your Father? Is He the shepherd who guides you safely? Is He your righteousness? God knows me by my name. I long to know Him by His.

Tomorrow He is El Shaddai, the Lord God Almighty.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Free Indeed

The only true freedom I shall ever know is found in Jesus Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, KJV). Other versions say “through and through”. If He has freed me from sin, then I am liberated through and through. It is a thorough work―not a partial one. His work in me will always be one that calls for obedience and perseverance. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4, NASV). Continually growing in His grace, I will not lack. What is true in the spiritual realm will be true in the physical. Sin will no longer be my master because I have been set free by His grace (Romans 6:14).

“Sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end” (Romans 5:20b-21 MSG),

My deliverance from sin is completely found in the redemptive work of His grace. The spiritual maturity to stand against it comes through perseverance to study and apply His Word, through prayer, and through the power of His indwelling Spirit. I choose to live an obedient and holy life, and His grace empowers my choice. There will always be temptations, threats, and adversity, but by His grace I shall prevail through any battle that comes my way. His grace shall prevail against any temptation or threat or circumstance. He will empower my lifestyle choices and help me stand strong in the miracle of His grace.

The Faith of Christ

       I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I liv...