Tuesday, October 31, 2006
To be able to do this, we have to truly know God and His character. We have to be intimate with Him. This is what He wants for and from us! I struggle with this everyday and often fail. But our God is a God of forgiveness. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider. He has provided a way out. For our redemption and forgiveness it was necessary for there to be a perfect sacrifice and this sacrifice had to be of our blood, kinsman! Guess what...He is Jehovah Jireh! Just as He provided a ram for sacrifice when He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, He provided a perfect, spotless Lamb for our Sacrifice! Just as He provided a kinsman redeemer for Ruth and Naomi, He provided a kinsman Redeemer for us (Ruth's story is beautiful and it mirrors Jesus redemption of us)!
Why is it that even when we believe this redemption is only through Christ, we continue to live a life that does not show worship of God in ALL we do? We still live in a body of flesh and flesh is weak! This means that I must depend on God's strength for everything I do. His name is my tower, the righteous run to it and is safe (Proverbs 18:10). May I allow God to mold me into His image, that I may live a life of worship and obedience to Him!
Erika, I LOVE the study of God's names and will anticipate your post everyday. When you finish doing these posts, if there is another name that my book describes, I'll add to what you say. The more names we know, the more weapons against Satan we have! :-)
It was Gideon who tore down an altar to Baal in the dark of night, so no one would see him do it- he was a fearful man. But it was Yahweh Shalom who staid that fear and brought Gideon peace and understanding. Yahweh Shalom- The Lord Is Peace. This can be helpful to us in so many ways. By calling on Yahweh Shalom, we can ask for strength to share his message with someone who needs to hear it. God will give us peace and freedom from fear if we ask him. Most often, I think it's fear that prevents us from sharing God's word with non-believers. In our country, it's more a fear of ridicule and scorn. But in other countries it can be so much worse- Christians fear for their life at times. But it is Yahweh Shalom that puts a peace in their hearts that enables them to still share his word. That is amazing. According to scripture, there will come a time when us as Christians may very well fear for our lives, simply for sharing the love of God. I have to admit, I cannot imagine being in that situation. I cannot imagine having my life threatened simply because I love God and want to share that love with others. Yet, every day there are Christians being persecuted for this very thing.
This is one are where I can truly think unselfishly. I pray that Yahweh Shalom will calm the hearts of those Christians who are in danger, and that they will be rewarded well for their service. I can't imagine living in that world, but I can pray for those who are. I can also pray that Yahweh Shalom will take away the fear I may experience when presented with an opportunity to witness. By keeping Yahweh Shalom in my mind, I can remember to call on him when needed. God is our peace, no matter what situation we are in.
Monday, October 30, 2006
And if there's someone else who feels they would like to contribute, please let me know and I will consider adding you to the blog authors as well. You can reach me by clicking on my name to the right, and that will take you to a link for my e-mail address. Otherwise, feel free to leave a note in one of the comments sections, and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank you!
The second part of the chapter is actually the focus of today. In this chapter, the Israelites were challenged by the Amalekites. They came to fight the Israelites. Moses sent Joshua with the Israelites to fight the army, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to a nearby hill. Moses held his staff up and while he was holding up the staff, the Israelites were winning. But when Moses's arsm would grow tired and he would lower the staff, the Amalekites would gain the advantage. eventually, Moses could not hold his arms for another minute, so Aaron found a rock for Moses to sit on, and while Moses sat, Aaron and Hur stood on either side of him and held up his arms for him. As a result, Joshua and the Israelite troops defeated the Amalekites. God told Joshua and Moses that he would be at war with the Amalekites for every generation, because they dared come after the Lord's throne. This is where God is introduced as Yahweh Nissi- which means"The Lord Is My Banner."
Now I admit that at first I was a little stumped as to what "The Lord Is My Banner" could entail. I mean, when you think of the word banner, you think of a flag or a fancy poster like thing announcing an event. Why would the Lord want to be a banner? That doesn't make sense. But then I thought for a while and thought on ancient war. I'm no war expert, but I do know that once upon a time, people fought "under" a banner at war. Whether that be the banner signifying a King or a Noble or other member of royalty, a banner represented that person. Moses, in this case, was being a standard bearer. By holding up his staff, Moses was holding up God's Banner, and the Amalekites still dared to wage war. Subsequently, they were defeated.
In this instance, the Amalekites could represent just about anything. But today they are going to represent selfishness. The represent the selfish nature that we all have and God fights and puts to death. We all battle that selfish nature, likely on a daily basis. Yet we can find the strength to overcome that selfishness in prayer and communication with God. He will give us the strength to overcome the selfish nature. Yahweh Nissi can help us win the battle, all we have to do is ask and he will be our standard- or our banner in the battle.
Right now I'm battling with myself. I'm really struggling with some issues that are going on with our church and some other people within. While I am certain that I am right about some of these, I also don't think that it is right for me to bring the situations to anyone's attention. I think that would bring up conflict, which we really don't want in our small church. But it is so hard! It is hard right now for me to even want to go to church. As many times as I can pray about these things and say "God, please take care of this" they are staying at the forefront of my mind and causing some problems for me. Today's reading was definitely needed. Somehow, I do need to be able to completely give my battles to God. Hopefully by spending more time in his word and in prayer, a solution can be revealed. Something that will make me better able to follow his command and fellowship, because right now, that isn't really possible for me.
Yahweh Nissi, he will be my Banner.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
In chapter 15, the Israelites sang and danced to the Lord. I remember singing a song in church growing up that was based on this chapter. "I will sing unto the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously, the horse and rider thrown into the sea." The Israelites had just seen their enemy completely destroyed by the red sea. Just after they finished praising the Lord for his delivery of them from Egypt they turned to Moses and started complaining. They came upon a place where the water was bitter, and they had been thirsty, so they complained about leaving Egypt only to end up suffering of thirst. God commanded Moses to throw a stick into the water to make it drinkable. And this is where we learn what Yahweh Rapha means. Yahweh Rapha- The Healing God. Not only does God care about our spiritual health and well-being, he also cares about our physical health.
God told the Israelites that he would spare them from the diseases that he had sent to Egypt if they would follow his commands and do what he told them to do. Just as God cared about the Israelites health, he cares about ours. I think about when one of my children is sick. Zander had croup last winter, and it was so scary for us. I sat up with him all night, literally just listening to him breath and praying for him. I can't tell you how many times tears came to my eyes as I thought about how uncomfortable he must be. Every time one of my beauties is sick, I spend time with them just praying for them to get well, and praying that they will be comfortable. It just kills me to see one or both of them suffering with an illness. And when I think on this reading today, and think on Yahweh Rapha, I imagine that God must feel the same way when one of his believers is physically ill. He gives us the strength to make it through. In some cases, he gives Physicians wisdom as to how to treat a particular illness. This past year my Grandma passed away from cancer. She had a miraculously short battle. God didn't want her to suffer, so he called her home and gave her the ultimate healing. That sort of healing may not always be what we want here on earth, but I believe that for my Grandma, that was God showing mercy, taking her to Heaven so she no longer needed to suffer with her physical body.
Having read this today, I think to my own health. You know, as a Mom, I don't get the luxury of being sick. I can't just take a sick day and curl up and watch old movies all day. I still have to function and be Mom, I have little people to take care of. And as much as I pray over them when they are sick, I don't know that I pray much for myself when I am sick. I get this determined attitude that I can make it through the day, and I just keep going. Imagine how much better I could feel if I just asked God for help. I will try to remember this passage and call on Yahweh Rapha when I need it. How wonderful to have a God that cares about our physical health!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Today's reading was Genesis 22. This one was another profound moment in the life of Abraham. In the 22nd chapter of Genesis, God asks Abraham for a sacrifice. And not just any sacrifice. He tells him to travel to a location three days travel away and sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. Abraham didn't question God for one second. He obeyed. At one point, Isaac turned to his father and asked where the lamb was- they had everything else, but no sacrifice with them. Abraham's answer to Isaac was that the Lord would provide a sacrifice. Abraham went as far as tying Isaac up, lying him on the pyre, and raising the knife to deal out the killing blow. It wasn't until that moment that an angel stopped him and showed him a ram that God was providing him.
This is a very personal chapter in the Bible. God cares about each and every one of us on a personal level. Yahweh Yireh can be translated to mean "The Lord Will Provide." And just as God provided a sacrifice for Abraham, he will provide us with what we need. Abraham was following God's directions wholeheartedly, and with complete faith. He and Isaac traveled to their destination with two other men. They stopped short of the right place and Abraham turned to his companions and told them to wait here, he and Isaac would be back after they worshipped God. He told them Isaac would come back with him, even though he knew his instructions were to sacrifice his son. I don't believe that Abraham was deceiving these men one bit. He had Faith that God would raise Isaac from the dead after he sacrificed him. What a statement of faith this chapter is!!! I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be able to follow God's instructions to sacrifice a child. And God cared so much for Abraham, that he provided the ram for a sacrifice. He spared Isaac's life, and through Abraham and Isaac he promised a world of blessings that would last forever for them.
God will provide. That alone can be encouraging for me. God will provide us with what we need, whether that be food, shelter, clothing, or wisdom to say the right things at the right time. He is the great provider, and sometimes, it is a leap of faith to remember that he does provide. Andy and I have been spending a lot of time praying about his job situation. He'd been told over a month ago that an early lay-off was coming. It was difficult for us, but we trusted that God would provide somehow, and we've continued paying our bills and tithing, and watching what we spend, even though we know that that money could be saved. And guess what! God is still providing. Right now, it looks like Andy could potentially be working right up to Christmas. That is a huge Praise the Lord! And I have complete faith that the provision will continue for as long as we need it. It can be terrifying to take that leap of faith, but with continued prayer and time with God, he's given me a peace about the whole situation, that I would certainly not have it it weren't for him. He is indeed The Great Provider.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Today I read Genesis chapter 17. This is the chapter in the Bible where God makes his great covenant with Abraham. Before this chapter, Abraham was known as Abram, and God changed his name to Abraham. I have found that Abram meant "exalted father" and Abraham meant "father of many." Abraham was told that from this point on, all men were to be circumcised to show their love for God, and to be marked as his. And finally, God changed his wife's name to Sarah, which means "princess." After God changed Sarah's name, he also told Abraham that she will give him a son. Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 years old, they were both past their prime for childbearing. Abraham believed God, and that very day, every man in his household, including himself and his 13 year old son Ishmael, were circumcised.
El Shaddai is one of the many names for God. Years ago Amy Grant sang a song called El Shaddai. One of the lines I remember was "age to age you're still the same, by the power of your name." How true is that. The God that thousands of years ago could give Abraham and Sarah a son, is the same God today that can help us with any struggle we are going through. El Shaddai means "I Am God Almighty"- the God who is enough, the fruitful one. It can be hard in today's world. Every day we are confronted with something that says we aren't enough, or we don't have enough, or we aren't doing enough. But it's God who is enough. Through God we can feel complete and whole, and we can believe that we will do anything.
God gave a 90 year old woman a baby. Let's think about that for a second. By 90 years old, surely Sarah has gone through menopause, and has not been in "reproduction mode" for many, many years. And just like that, God says she will have a child, and her womb begins to work again. God can do anything!! If he can take a barren womb and heal it so that it can bear a child, think of what God can do for us! One of the important points to make here is that both Abraham and Sarah believed God when he said she would have a child. Abraham may have found the idea funny and confusing at first, but he believed nonetheless, and eventually, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. Abraham and Sarah chose to take the opportunity to believe that God would give them Isaac. Every time we face a difficulty, we can view it as an opportunity. An opportunity to put our trust in God- in El Shaddai, the one who satisfies. Abraham's faith grew stronger while he waited for Isaac, and so can ours. A hard time and a difficult time could actually be an opportunity to draw closer to God and learn to rely on him more.
And the biggest point in this chapter is that God delivers what he promises. God promised Abraham Isaac, and Abraham had Isaac. And when God promises to see us through our troubles, if we just ask him, he will do so. And that is a great thing to know.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I am also looking for a few partners in crime. If you would like to be a contributing member, please send me an e-mail and I will consider adding you to my team. Together we can do our part to save the world, one person at a time.