Saturday, November 26, 2011

What's in a name? - Jehovah Jireh

Can you imagine being asked to sacrifice your son?  What if the Lord asked you to do this?  I would think the Lord is crazy, but would I follow His command?  Well we all know the story of how Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac.  Abraham, although he struggled with this idea, followed the Lord's call and right before Abraham struck his son, an Angel of the Lord called out and stopped Abraham.  And after he is stopped, Abraham looks up and there is a ram caught in a bush.  Not a random happening, but something that God provided due to the faithfulness of Abraham.  So Abraham offers the ram as a sacrifice.  "So Abraham called the name of that place, "Jehovah Jireh (The Lord will provide).""  Genesis 22:14 (This is the only time this name appears in the Bible)

This may be the only time in the Bible that this name appears, but we see the presence of Jehovah Jireh all throughout the Bible.  Not only in the Bible, but everyday in our lives we see the work of Jehovah Jireh.  All to often we fail to recognize His provisions due to an expectation that we have placed in our lives.  We feel that we are owed the things we have and the blessings we have received, and fail to see them as what they are - BLESSINGS!  God is so good to us!  He provides for our every need and presents us with so much more than what we need.  He does provide and will pour blessings out in our lives, if only we trust.

It's so hard to trust though!  Sometimes the Lord's request make no sense at all and He ask too much of us.  So we then begin to think that maybe it's not the Lord or that we can get away with only doing part of what the Lord requires.  If this is the attitude then God can not fully provide everything He wants to provide to us.  We begin to hold back Jehovah Jireh because of our decision.  What, you don't think that God could ask something so crazy?  What's crazier than being asked to sacrifice your own son?  Nothing!  We will not be asked to do something this difficult because the grace of God and the sacrifice of His son covered our sins so that we don't have to make living sacrifices to the Lord.  But we are still required to be a living sacrifice and make sacrifices in our lives.  And sometimes these sacrifices will sound crazy and ask a lot of us, but don't we just burst at the seems thinking about what Jehovah Jireh will provide when we follow Him?

""Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness" - and he was called a friend of God."  James 2:23  Is this not what we want?  Don't we desire to be credited with righteousness, where we are an extension of the Trinity?  The incredible thing about the Holy Spirit is that when it dwells within us, we are then drawn into the Trinity.  Absolutely incredible!  And once we are drawn into the Trinity and willing to do whatever God ask, no matter how crazy, then we can fully see the work of Jehovah Jireh!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's in a name? - Jehovah Nissi

A name that at first may seem to hold little significance at its first mention. Only found once in the Bible may lead one to believe that it is really not all that important. Once we take a closer look at the name, we begin to see the greatness of this name.

It means "The Lord our Banner". First impression? Maybe, "Oh cool, like go team go!" Ok, maybe a little cheesy, but really what's the significance.

When we look at the one and only passage where this if found, we can gain a context for this reference. So the Israelites are in a battle with the Amalekites and Joshua leads his army into battle. So get a picture of some epic battle, like in Braveheart. So Aaron rallies his men, and Moses, along with Aaron and Hur go to the top of a hill that overlooks the battle field. As long as Moses holds his hands in the air, he sees the Israelites winning the battle, but as soon as they are lowered, the Amalekites begin to gain ground. Let's think about this simple act of lifting our hands. It show's surrender, in this case to God, and it shows hands lifted high to give honor to something greater than ourselves. It's lifting up our burdens and cares to someone far greater than ourselves. But our arms grow weary and sometimes we need brothers and sisters around us to help us along the way.

With the help of Aaron and Hur, Moses held his hands in the air for the whole time of the battle, and seeing God win the battle for the Israelites. So Moses builds an alter in honor of what God did for them, and he called it Jehovah Nissi, The Lord our Banner.

Great story! But what's the significance? A banner is much more than a flag on a stick. It marked the battle ground and was often used to rally troops. It would be easy to get lost and separated from your men during battle, so a banner would be placed to help you find your fellow soldiers. Banners are often used to celebrate and to mark special occasions. A banner is used to create identity, to create a separation from others, but yet to unify one group. Think of the significance of a nations flag. It is honored and respected. The flag of the U.S. is unique and is the symbol of a country. It is something to be treated with reference and with a humbleness. It represents something greater than ourselves.

Yet I believe the greatest representation is not found in those things, but in the image of soldiers planting the flag after a victory. It is customary to plant one's flag in the battleground after a victory. My mind pictures the image at Iwo Jima, where the soldiers mark a long hard fought victory with the American flag. It is a sign of victory! Naming God our Banner states a reference, a devotion, and a commitment to Him. And with Him as our Banner, we know we will have victory. The Lord our Banner, simple, yet so powerful in knowing everything that this means to us. May we rally around the flag, pull together to fight, and stand before our King!  And above all, we can claim victory and plant the flag in every battle ground we find ourselves in!  For we do not fight for victory, but we fight from victory!

What's in a name? - Elohim

"In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth."

I chose to start with this name since it is the first name used for God. This name only appears in the Hebrew language and is the most used name for God in the Bible being used 2,570. The Jewish people use this name to refer to God as either the creator or the judge of the universe. El is translated meaning "Strong One". Many times this name is combined with other names of God to give a more descriptive meaning. When formed with other names it is spelled Elohei which translates "God of -".
This is the most revered name of God to the Jewish people and it is treated with absolute reverence.

This is written to build a simple base knowledge. This is the foundations of many names. I know this is a rather dull intro into the names and I really provided little insight, but pulled most of this off of research from the internet. In the names to come, much deeper research will be done. But it is important to understand this name first since many more names will build off of the name Elohim.

What's in a name?

I'm going to launch a new blog series on the names of God! I'm excited to start this new exploration into the names of God, because I think His names are important and they show us a part of who He is. Our names are important, for we take pride in our name and it in a way it defines who we are. It individuals us. In the same way, the names of God are important and they define who God is. I have never taken a lot of time to study His names, so this will be a huge learning experience for me and I hope you can gain something from my study as well. Please list any names of God that you love, desire to know more about, or have questions about and I will dive into that name!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Church as the Family

As I've studied who God is and His great design in our world, God has really convicted me of what the church should look like. God's design was perfect and His roles for us are perfect. The church is designed to look like the family. It is a family. So why do we look at the family structure in America, seeing how broken it is, and lead the church in the same direction? The loss of the father in the family has destroyed our society. The loss of the father has caused gender confusion, a lack of leadership, a lack of discipline and confused children, who have no idea what a loving father looks like. God's original design is perfect! His design for the church is perfect, yet we are molding the church into this new family structure. The man's role in the family is to lead and protect his family. Within the church, the man should be the leader! The man should lead his family spiritually, same as the church. Part of this downslide is due to the lack of initiative among men in the church. Another part of it is due to women stepping in too soon, not encouraging their brothers to step up.
When looking at men and women, one thing must be understood. If men know that a women will step up and fill the role, men will allow them to fill the role. But if a women encourages a brother to step up, it gives men a strength to fill the role God has set apart for men. Sometimes to us, the roles seem unfair and don't make sense, but God is perfect and the roles are perfect. Our society has turned words like submission into such a bad word, when God really designed that as a glorious thing. I think there were a lot of good things that came out of the women's rights movement, but I also think that this movement destroyed some of the roles that God designed and confused our generation. Men no longer know what their role is or their position in the family because women have begun to take it over. I believe that this has led to the lazy, bum mentality that society has given to men. We see it in almost every television show and movie, and now society believes that this is just how it is. Where is our righteous anger to uphold God's plan!?! Why have we fallen so far from a Biblical worldview!?! May we rediscover God's design and re-evaluate our views and standards to make sure they align with God! May we continually seek and desire to be like God!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Journey of a Bible

My Bible has been through thick and thin with me. It has seen me through many lows and has lead me to my highs. It was with me when I worked with children in Jamaica, it journeyed with me to Kenya to share the love of Christ, it was by my side as I worked with the people in Costa Rica, and it came with me to South Korea to teach the children here. It was with me when I spent my first summer on my own, giving me strength to stand up for my faith when those around me did not share the same faith. It took me through my teenage years and changed me through my college years. It infiltrated my heart with the wisdom of God. It journeyed with me on the most influential 4 months of my life and was the foundation of my change in Colorado. It has been with me in every state I have lived in. It has shown me who God is and who He desires me to be. It has challenged me to think deeper, given me joy when nothing else could, and has taught me how to care for those around me. Inside were many memories, many notes, and many tears.
My Bible will be dearly missed, but God is awesome and He has given me the knowledge that I will see my Bible again. It's funny, because from the time I lost it, I had this comfort and peace that God was going to bring it back to me. Either I will receive the Bible or I will meet the person who has been blessed by it, or both. It may not even be while I'm still here, but may be years down the road, but I believe that God is going to use this to just blow my mind about Himself! He is going to show up and display His divine intervention, and it will be glorious! I hope to meet this person so we can share with each other the journey this Bible has had! One thing is for sure, my Bible will have an awesome story to share!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Missions Exist Because Worship Doesn't!

On my run tonight, these words from Lecrae hit me. "Come on Christians! Missions exist because worship doesn't!" For so long I have felt like God has been calling me into overseas missions. But our failure to truly worship really is the reason missions exist. If we would be the hands and feet of Christ, and be so overwhelmed to be in His presence, there would be no need for missions. Worship is not something that happens on Sunday, but is a daily aspect of our life. It's a constant worship of God, using our strengths to glorify Him. Everything we do should bring honor and glory to God! EVERYTHING!! Not just parts of our life, but every aspect! What, do you think Paul was just joking when he said we should die to self? Do we believe the Bible? Do we believe that it is Truth? Do we believe John when he says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Bible is Holy, it teaches us to be Holy, but we must follow what it says to be Holy! How can we say the Bible is Truth if we follow only certain parts of the Bible. Some people just skip certain parts of the Bible because it does not give them what they want to hear. They claim ignorance as a way to not follow the words of God. Church, worship requires dying to self! He must become greater, I must become less! Worship should be something that we can't stop ourselves from doing. We should be in Love with God to a point that we can't help but worship! We should be so filled with the Holy Spirit that it pours out of us! May our worship overtake our need for missions!