“PRAYER”

“THIS, THEN , IS HOW YOU SHOULD PRAY: “OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME, YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD. AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE.” MATTHEW 6:9-13 NIV

DO YOU FEEL GOD IS SOMETIMES TOO FAR AWAY? DO YOU FEEL ALL ALONE? DO YOU WISH YOU COULD FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD?

OUR FEELINGS OF BEING ISOLATED FROM GOD ARE OUR OWN. WHEN WE ATTEMPT TO GO IT ALONE, WE DISTANCE OURSELVES FROM GOD. WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES AND EVENTS TEMPT US TO TURN OUR BACK ON GOD, WE ARE THE ONE TURNING OUR BACKS. GOD NEVER TURNS HIS BACK TO US. GOD IS HERE…RIGHT WHERE HE ALWAYS IS. GOD’S ARMS ARE OUTSTRETCHED TO WELCOME US AT ALL TIMES.

WHEN THOSE FEELINGS COME OVER YOU THAT GOD IS NOT PRESENT, NOT HOLDING YOUR HAND, NOT DOING ANYTHING ABOUT A SITUATION…THAT IS CLEARLY A SIGN TO STOP YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS AND RE-EVALUATE YOUR SITUATION. IT IS TIME TO PRAY.

WHAT IS PRAYER?

PRAYER IS A ONE ON ONE CONVERSATION WITH GOD. YOU CAN PRAY TO GOD THE FATHER, JESUS OUR SAVIOR OR THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO DWELLS IN YOU AS A BELIEVER. PRAYER MAY BE DESPERATE OR EXTREMELY PEACEFUL. AFTER ALL, YOU ARE TALKING TO YOUR BEST FRIEND WHEN YOU PRAY. GOD CARES MORE ABOUT YOU THAN ANYONE ELSE.

WHEN SHOULD WE PRAY?

NOW. GOD IS LISTENING 24/7. GOD IS NEVER TOO BUSY FOR YOU…AFTER ALL HE CREATED YOU. MANY ‘SCHEDULE’ A TIME OF PRAYER. FREE OF DISTRACTIONS PRAYING EARLY MORNINGS BEFORE THE HECTIC SCHEDULE OF THE DAY SETS IN IS GOOD FOR MANY. REMEMBERING ALL THE GOOD AND BAD OF THE DAY MAKES A PRAYER WITH GOD MEANINGFUL AND RESTFUL BEFORE FALLING TO SLEEP. PRAYING BEFORE MEALS REMINDS US TO BE THANKFUL OF GOD’S PROVISIONS BEFORE EATING. DON’T FORGET TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH GOD THROUGHOUT THE DAY…SITTING AT YOUR DESK, WAITING FOR THE RED LIGHT TO CHANGE OR STANDING IN THAT LONG LINE AT THE GROCERY ARE ALL TIMES TO COMMUNICATE WITH GOD. THERE IS NEVER A TIME NOT TO PRAY!

WHERE SHOULD WE PRAY?

MANY TREAT PRAYER AS A LAST RESORT OR ONLY IN CHURCH. SCRIPTURES TELL US TO GO TO GOD IN PRAYER. PRAYER IS NOT A LAST RESORT. PRAYER IS THE FIRST THING WE SHOULD DO, NOT THE LAST. PRAY WHERE YOU ARE. FIND A SPECIAL PLACE WHERE THERE ARE NO INTERRUPTIONS, NO DISTRACTIONS…A QUIET PLACE TO BE ALONE WITH GOD. IT MAY BE A PRAYER ROOM AT YOUR CHURCH, SNUGGLED WARM IN YOUR BED, ON YOUR KNEES IN A QUIET CLOSET OR HIGH ON A MOUNTAIN PEAK. WHERE IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS TAKING THE TIME TO TALK WITH GOD. “VERY EARLY IN HE MORNING, WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK, JESUS GOT UP, LEFT THE HOUSE AND WENT OFF TO A SOLITARY PLACE, WHERE HE PRAYED.” MARK 1:35 NIV

WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY?

SPECIFIC PRAYERS GET SPECIFIC ANSWERS. THERE IS NO NEED TO RAMBLE. GOD KNOWS WHY YOU ARE PRAYING. HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW AS WELL. TELL GOD SIMPLY WHY YOU ARE PRAYING. TELL GOD ‘THANK YOU’ FOR ALL HE HAS DONE FOR YOU AND IS DOING. THANK GOD FOR ANSWERING YOUR PREVIOUS PRAYERS. ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOU OF ANY WRONG DOING. WHEN WE REPENT, GOD FORGIVES. ASK GOD FOR HELP IN A SITUATION. ASK GOD TO INTERVENE WITH OTHERS. ASK GOD TO HELP WHEN THERE IS A HEALTH CONCERN. ASK GOD TO FOR GUIDANCE. ASK GOD FOR THE MOST SIMPLE THING…NOTHING IS TOO SMALL OR TOO LARGE FOR GOD.

HOW LONG SHOULD WE PRAY?

PRAY FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO TELL GOD WHY YOU ARE COMING TO HIM IN PRAYER. IF YOU ARE PRAYING ABOUT ONE THING, YOUR PRAYER MAY BE VERY SHORT. IF YOU KEEP A PRAYER JOURNAL AND HAVE PRAYERS FOR YOURSELF AND A LIST OF OTHERS, YOUR PRAYER MAY BE A LITTLE LONGER. DURING A PRAYER TIME, IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO REPEAT YOURSELF OVER AND OVER…GOD HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME. SINCERITY NOT REPETITIOUSNESS IS WHAT COUNTS.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE PRAY?

PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HOW LONG WE SHOULD PRAY IS HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE PRAY. THERE IS NO SET NUMBER OF TIMES A DAY WE SHOULD PRAY. WHILE NOT A NUMBER, WE SHOULD BE SPIRITUALLY AWARE AND IN CONSTANT PRAYER. “AND PRAY IN THE SPIRIT ON ALL OCCASIONS WITH ALL KINDS OF PRAYERS AND REQUESTS. WITH THIS IN MIND, BE ALERT AND ALWAYS KEEP ON PRAYING FOR ALL THE LORD’S PEOPLE.” EPHESIANS 6:17 NIV

CAN OTHERS PRAY FOR ME?

WE SHOULD ALL PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER. JUST ASK YOU CAN AND SHOULD PRAY FOR ALL PRAISES AND NEEDS OF OTHERS, WE CAN ALL BE PRAYER WARRIORS AND PRAY FOR OTHERS. OTHERS SHOULD NOT BE ENCOURAGED TO PRAY FOR YOU IN ORDER FOR YOU TO AVOID PRAYING. GOD WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU. WHEN TIMES ARE DIFFICULT OR AMAZING PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED, TELL OTHERS SO THEY CAN BE IN PRAYER FOR YOU AS WELL.

A.S.K.

“ASK, SEEK AND KNOCK. IN LUKE 11:9 AND MATTHEW 7:7, JESUS TELLS US: “SO I SAY TO YOU: ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU; SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND; KNOCK AND THE DOOR WILL BE OPENED TO YOU.” AS WE PRAY, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS WITH LOVE AND CARING. WHILE WE KNOW LITTLE OF GOD’S PLANS, GOD KNOWS ALL.

THERE ARE TIMES WE MAY FEEL GOD DOES NOT HEAR US OR IGNORES US WHEN OUR PETITIONS ARE NOT IMMEDIATELY ANSWERED. GOD KNOWS. HE WILL ANSWER YOU IN PERFECT TIME. JUST AS A PARENT NOT GIVING EVERYTHING A LITTLE CHILD ASKS, GOD WILL SOMETIMES INSTANTLY GIVE YOU WHAT YOU ASK. THEN, SOMETIMES HE WILL NOT IMMEDIATELY RESPOND FOR HE HAS A GREATER PURPOSE OR IS PREPARING YOU OR OTHERS FOR A GREATER GIFT OR PURPOSE.

“A SKILLED HAWK . . . GOD’S CREATION

DID YOU EVER WATCH A HAWK IN FLIGHT? A HAWK FLIES NOT ONLY WITH AERONAUTIC GRACE BUT WITH PERFECTED SKILLS. HAWKS FLY MASSIVE AREAS TO FIND THEIR PREY. WITH WHAT IS CALLED DOUBLE BINOCULAR VISION, THEY CAN SEE NOT ONLY A MAGNIFICATION OF WHAT IS IN FRONT OF THEM, BUT WITH OVERLAPPING VISION THEY CAN SEE WHAT IS TO THEIR LEFT AND RIGHT, ALL AT THE SAME TIME. WITH VISION EIGHT TIMES GREATER THAN A HUMAN, ON A CLEAR DAY, A HAWK CAN SEE A RODENT UP TO A FULL MILE AWAY! AREN’T GOD’S CREATIONS AMAZING?

JUST AS GOD CREATED DIFFERENT BIRDS, HE CREATED HUMANS WITH DIFFERENCES AS WELL. JUST AS GOD CREATED HUMANS OF DIFFERENT HEIGHTS, WEIGHTS, SKIN COLORS AND PERSONALITIES, HE CREATED US WITH DIFFERENT TALENTS. WHILE SOME THINGS WE MAY NOT DO WELL AT ALL, SOME THINGS WE CAN DO BETTER THAN OTHERS. WE HAVE GREAT ATHLETES WHO MAY NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO CREATE A GREAT RECIPE OR A SCIENTIST WHO CAN SPLIT AN ATOM BUT MAY NOT BE THE GREATEST PIANIST. SKILLS AND TALENTS ARE CREATED GIFTS FROM GOD.

GOD MAY GIVE US A UNIQUE SKILL OR TALENT BUT IT IS UP TO US, INDIVIDUALLY, TO PERFECT THESE GIFTS FROM GOD. A HAWK HAS GREAT VISION AND FLYING SKILLS BECAUSE IT USES THESE GOD GIVEN ABILITIES EVERY DAY. WE BECOME BETTER AT THINGS WHEN WE ACKNOWLEDGE THE BLESSING GOD HAS GIVEN US. WE SHOW OUR APPRECIATION TO GOD BY USING THESE SKILLS AND TALENTS TO THE BENEFIT OF SOMEONE ELSE.

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT YOU DO ESPECIALLY WELL? HAVE YOU SHARED WITH OTHERS THE ABILITIES GOD HAS BLESSED YOU WITH? MAYBE YOU HAVE A TALENT FOR TEACHING, PLAYING A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT, BAKING COOKIES, REPAIRING A CAR, CREATING WEALTH, BUILDING A HOUSE OR BEING A GREAT MOTHER. WHATEVER YOUR GOD GIVEN SKILL OR TALENT IS, IT IS OF LITTLE OR NO VALUE UNLESS YOU SHARE IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE? TELL GOD YOU APPRECIATE HIS GIFTS BY SHARING YOUR TALENTS WITH OTHERS.

“WE HAVE DIFFERENT GIFTS, ACCORDING TO THE GRACE GIVEN TO EACH OF US. IF YOUR GIFT IS PROPHESYING, THEN PROPHESY IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR FAITH; IF IT IS SERVING, THEN SERVE; IF IT IS TEACHING, THEN TEACH; IF IT IS TO ENCOURAGE, THEN GIVE ENCOURAGEMENT; IF IT IS GIVING, THE GIVE GENEROUSLY; IF IT IS TO LEAD, DO IT DILIGENTLY; IF IT IS TO SHOW MERCY, DO IT CHEERFULLY.” ROMANS 12:6-8 NIV

“THE GREATEST GENERATION”

“REMEMBER THE DAYS OF OLD; CONSIDER THE GENERATION OF LONG PAST. ASK YOUR FATHER AND HE WILL TELL YOU, YOUR ELDERS, AND THEY WILL EXPLAIN TO YOU.” DEUTERONOMY 32:7 NIV

READ DEUTERONOMY CHAPTER 32 AND JEREMIAH 6:6-15.

TOM BROKAW COINED THE PHRASE “THE GREATEST GENERATION”. HE WROTE OF A GENERATION THAT LIVED THROUGH YEARS OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION WHO WERE THEN STRADDLED WITH FIGHTING WORLD WAR II AND REUNITED TO BUILT A LEGACY. FAMILIES WERE TORN APART OVER THE LONG WAR WITH LITTLE COMMUNICATION. WHILE SOLDIERS FOUGHT THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY IN EUROPE AND THE PACIFIC, FAMILIES SUFFERED THROUGH RATIONING AT HOME IN SUPPORT OF THE WAR EFFORT. MR. BROKAW WROTE IN HIS BOOK THAT THIS WAS THE GREATEST GENERATION OF ANY SOCIETY. THIS WAS THE GENERATION THAT DID WHAT THEY DID BECAUSE “IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO”.

SINCE THAT TIME, WE HAVE SEEN GENERATIONS DEVELOPING WITHOUT THAT SINCERE APPRECIATION OF ‘IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO’. WE NOW SEE PEOPLE LOOKING THE OTHER WAY WHEN SOMEONE IS COMMITTING A CRIME OR IS NOT DOING THE RIGHT THING. WE SEE OURSELVES MUCH MORE SELFISH. OUR DESIRES ARE FOR ‘WHAT WE CAN GET’ RATHER THAN ‘WHAT WE CAN GIVE’. ARE YOU A TAKER OR A GIVER?

NOT SO SILENT GROUPS ARE VOCAL AND HAVE TAKEN TO THE STREETS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES WHICH GOD HAS WARNED US. BIBLE BELIEVERS ARE BEING RIDICULED AND CONDEMNED WHILE THOSE WHO CLEARLY VIOLATE GOD’S LAWS ARE CLAIMING THEIR ‘RIGHTS’ ARE BEING CHALLENGED. THE SOCIETIES OF OUR WORLD ARE RAPIDLY ACCEPTING A TEACHING OF ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING IS OK.

GOD’S PROPHETS OF OLD WARNED OF US OF THESE TIMES. IN JEREMIAH 6:10 WE ARE TOLD: “TO WHOM CAN I SPEAK AND GIVE WARNING? WHO WILL LISTEN TO ME? THEIR EARS ARE CLOSED SO THEY CANNOT HEAR. THE WORD OF THE LORD IS OFFENSIVE TO THEM; THEY FIND NO PLEASURE IN IT.”

ARE WE STILL NOT LISTENING? FROM THE FIRST STORIES OF CAIN AND ABLE DESCRIBING GREED AND MURDER, TO THE CAPTIVE STORIES OF JOSEPH BEING TORTURED AND CONDEMNED BY HIS BROTHERS TO THE MASSES CONDEMNING CHRIST FOR HEALING ON THE SABBATH, GOD’S WORD IS THERE TO TEACH AND PREPARE US. GOD ALLOWED HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE TO BE THE VICTIMS OF INVASIVE ARMIES. HIS PEOPLE WERE DIVIDED AND SENT INTO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT FAITHFUL TO GOD.

ARE WE AS A COUNTRY OR AS A WORLD ANY DIFFERENT THAN GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO? WHY DO WE OFTEN FEEL WE DESERVE WHAT IS NOT TRULY OURS? ARE WE FORGETTING GOD’S WRATH IS REAL? TIME AND TIME AGAIN GOD WARNS US BY EXAMPLE. HIS VENGEANCE IS DESCRIBED WITH HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF YEARS SOMETIMES BETWEEN SCRIPTURE REFERENCES OF GOD CONDEMNING HIS PEOPLE. YET, IN TIME HIS VENGEANCE RETURNS ON HIS UNFAITHFUL.

THE FIRE AND BRIMSTONE PREACHING OF OUR ELDERS HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH POPULAR MINISTERS CLAIMING ALL THE RICHES OF THIS WORLD ARE HERE FOR THE TAKING. GOD IS A LOVING GOD. GOD IS A GENEROUS GOD KNOWING WHAT IS BEST FOR US. GOD IS A FORGIVING GOD. AS WE WERE REMINDED IN LAST “SUNDAY’S SERMON”, GOD IS ALSO A JEALOUS GOD WHO CAN BRING WRATH UPON HIS PEOPLE FOR UNFAITHFULNESS.

GOD NEVER PROMISED FAME AND WEALTH. GOD’S WORD TEACHES US OF HARD WORK FOR FAIR WAGES. HIS SCRIPTURES PROCLAIM THE MERITS OF LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS, NOT LUXURY FOR ALL. GOD USES HIS BIBLE TO EDUCATE AND WARN US.

YET, WITH ALL WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT, ARE WE NOT LIKE THE PEOPLE OF OLD WHO REFUSED TO FOLLOW THE TRUE WORD OF GOD, PREFERRING INSTEAD TO FOLLOW OUR OWN WATERED DOWN ‘RELIGION’?

PERHAPS MR. BROKAW’S “THE GREATEST GENERATION” WAS PROVIDED AS A CURRENT INSIGHTFUL LESSON FROM GOD OF “THE RIGHT THING TO DO”.

“STAND FOR SOMETHING”

I HAVE HEARD TWO DIFFERENT SAYINGS. BOTH SPEAK TRUTHS.

‘STAND FOR SOMETHING OR FALL FOR ANYTHING.’

‘STAND FOR SOMETHING OR BE TRAMPLED BY THE MASSES GOING NOWHERE.’

NEITHER HAS THE RING OF VICTORY, DO THEY? IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE, WHICH GROUP WOULD YOU FALL INTO?

IF YOU STAND FOR NOTHING, YOU CERTAINLY COULD BE A VICTIM OF FALLING FOR ANYTHING. WITHOUT CONVICTION, WE ARE DESTINED TO FAIL. ARE YOUR CONVICTIONS WEAK ENOUGH TO FALL FOR FALSE TEACHINGS? DO YOU HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS, BUT FAIL TO ACT?

OR, ARE YOU PREPARED TO BE WEAK IN YOUR CONVICTIONS ONLY TO BE TRAMPLED, LITERALLY DESTROYED, BY THOSE WHO HAVE NO TRUE DESTINY? WE CAN ALL SUFFER FROM PEER PRESSURE FROM TIME TO TIME. EVEN WHEN WE KNOW THE RIGHT PATH, WE TAKE ON THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MASSES WHO LIVE FOR THE MOMENT AND HAVE NO FUTURE. BY FOLLOWING THE MASSES WE MAY FIND OURSELVES IN THE SCRIPTURES: “…WIDE IS THE GATE AND BROAD IS THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND MANY ENTER.”

GOD HAS A BETTER IDEA. GOD IS WITH YOU TO OFFER HIS STRENGTH TO STAND STRONG. HIS HOLY WORD IS A GUIDEBOOK OFFERING YOU HELP IN YOUR LIFE. GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU. GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOU TO FULFILL IN THIS LIFE…A SPECIAL VICTORY JUST FOR YOU. STAND UP AND CLAIM YOUR PURPOSE. GOD WANTS YOU. GOD WANTS YOU TO PREPARE FOR A LIFE OF ETERNITY.

IN ORDER TO ‘STAND FOR SOMETHING’, START EACH DAY SITTING. SIT FOR A FEW MINUTES EMBRACED IN READING YOUR BIBLE. PRAY AS YOU READ AND LISTEN CAREFULLY TO HEAR GOD’S CONVERSATION WITH YOU. A FEW VERSES CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. STAND FIRM AND TALL ON GOD’S WORD.

“THEREFORE, MY DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, STAND FIRM. LET NOTHING MOVE YOU. ALWAYS GIVE YOURSELVES FULLY TO THE WORK OF THE LORD, BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT YOUR LABOR IN THE LORD IS NOT IN VAIN.” 1 CORINTHIANS 15:58 NIV

“TWENTY NAMES OF GOD”

HOW DO YOU ADDRESS GOD? DO YOU CALL GOD ‘THE MAN UPSTAIRS’, ‘HOLY LORD’, ‘DADDY’, ‘FATHER’, ‘HEAVENLY FATHER’, ‘LORD GOD’ OR ANOTHER POPULAR NAME? DO YOU HAVE A REVERED NAME OF OUR GOD? WHO IS GOD WHEN YOU SEEK HIM IN PRAYER?

FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS MAN HAS HAD A RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR CREATOR. GOD’S SPOKEN NAME HAS CHANGED DEPENDING ON OUR RELATIONSHIP AND HOW WE FELT ABOUT GOD. GOD HAS NOT CHANGED. OUR OPINION AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS GOD HAS CHANGED. WE SEE STRENGTHS AND MARVELS OF GOD AND WE HAVE NAMED HIM FOR THESE STRONG CHARACTERISTICS. IN AN EFFORT TO UNDERSTAND GOD, WE HAVE GIVEN HIM HUMAN CHARACTERISTICS. AT THE SAME TIME, SCRIPTURE TELLS OF THE NAMES GOD HAS CALLED HIMSELF.

AS WE GO THRU THE SCRIPTURES WE FIND MANY STRONG NAMES. OUR REFERENCES GO FROM GENESIS THROUGH REVELATION. HIS PEOPLE THROUGH OUT THE OLD TESTAMENT’S SCRIPTURE CALLED GOD BY THE STRENGTHS THEY SAW IN HIM. THESE NAMES ARE REFERENCED AND EMBRACED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT AS WELL. GOD ABOUNDS IN STRENGTH. OUR WEAKNESSES GIVE US OPPORTUNITIES TO RELY UP0N THE STRENGTHS OF GOD.

LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE STRENGTHS OF GOD. AS WE GO THROUGH THESE WE CAN SEE JEHOVAH AND YAHWEH ARE OFTEN USED INTERCHANGEABLY.

1. EL SHADDAI, THIS IS GENERALLY TRANSLATED AS ‘GOD ALMIGHTY’ OR ‘LORD GOD ALMIGHTY’. GENESIS 49:24b TELLS US OF ‘THE MIGHTY ONE OF JACOB’. THESE WORDS ARE ALSO REPEATED IN PSALMS 132:2 AND 5. GOD’S POWER IS ALMIGHTY.

2. EL ELYON: THIS IS GOD’S RIGHT TO HIS LORDSHIP, OUR ‘MOST HIGH GOD’. THIS IS DERIVED FROM THE HEBREW WORD FOR ‘GO UP’ OR TO ‘ASCEND’. THIS DESCRIBES GOD AS THE HIGHEST.

3. ADONAI: ‘LORD’ OR ‘MASTER’. THIS IS A SIMPLE, YET VERY SACRED TRANSLATION TO ‘LORD’ OR ‘MASTER’. THIS WAS USED BY JEWS IN PLACE OF YHWH. MANY THOUGHT THEMSELVES UNWORTHY TO UTTER YHWH. THERE ARE STILL THOSE TODAY WHO FEEL UNWORTHY AND USE ‘ADONAI’ RATHER THAN YHWH, YAHWEH OR LORD. OLD JEWISH TRADITION USED YHWH IN REFERRING TO JEWS, WHILE ADONAI WAS ALSO USED IN THEIR LANGUAGE WHEN GOD WAS DEALING WITH GENTILES.

4. YAHWEH: WE SEE THIS AS ‘YHWH’ AND ‘JEHOVAH’. THIS IS TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH AS ‘LORD’. IN WRITINGS WE SEE YAHWEH TRANSLATED AS ‘LORD’ AS A CHARACTER DIFFERENCE FROM ‘Lord’ IN LOWER CASE AS ADONAI. YAHWEH TELLS US OF GOD’S PERMANENT PRESENCE. GOD IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO US. IN EXODUS 3:14, GOD TOLD MOSES “I AM WHO I AM”. THIS MAY WELL BE THE STRONGEST DEFINITION OF WHO GOD IS…”I AM” IS WITHOUT ANY DOUBT.

5. JEHOVAH NISSI: ‘THE LORD IS MY BANNER’ OR ‘THE LORD IS OUR BANNER’. BANNER COULD TRANSLATE AS A PLACE OF CELEBRATION AS IN THE VICTORY OVER THE AMALEKITES IN EXODUS. OUR GOD, JEHOVAH, IS OUR BANNER OF VICTORY.

6. JEHOVAH-RAAH OR YAHWEH-ROHI: ‘THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD’. PSALM 23:1 TELLS US “THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, I SHALL NOT BE IN WANT”. AS DAVID SUPPLIED ALL HIS SHEEP NEEDED, WE UNDERSTAND GOD IS OUR SHEPHERD IN SUPPLYING ALL WE NEED IN SPIRIT, PHYSICAL AND POSSESSIONS.

7. JEHOVAH RAPHA OR YAHWEH-RAPHA: ‘THE LORD WHO HEALS’. EXODUS 15:26 EXPLAINS CLEARLY; “…FOR I AM THE LORD WHO HEALS YOU.”

8. JEHOVAH SHAMMAH OR YAHWEH-SHAMMAH: ‘THE LORD IS THERE’. THIS IS ATTRIBUTED TO THE GLORY OF THE LORD RETURNING TO THE TEMPLE IN EZEKIEL. THE PRESENCE OF GOD IS REAL.

9. JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU OR YAHWEH-TSIDKENU: ‘THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’. JEREMIAH 33 TELLS US OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS. JESUS TOOK ON OUR SINS AS 2 CORINTHIANS 5:21 TELLS US “…THAT WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM”.

10. JEHOVAH MEKODDISHKEM OR YAHWEH-M’KADDESH: “THE LORD WHO SANCTIFIES’ OR ‘THE LORD WHO MAKES HOLY’. ONLY GOD, NOT MAN CAN MAKE MAN HOLY. JESUS BECAME THE BEARER OF ALL OUR SINS SO THAT WE CAN BE CLEANSED.

11. EL OLAM: ‘EVERLASTING GOD’. GOD IS BEFORE THE BEGINNING AND AFTER THE END, AND IS WITHOUT A BEGINNING OR AN END. WITHIN GOD IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF TIME. GOD IS ETERNAL.

12. QANNA: ‘GOD IS THE JEALOUS GOD’. THIS IS A QUALITY OF GOD ALONE WHICH IDENTIFIES HIS ‘ONENESS’. “…FOR I, THE LORD YOUR GOD, AM A JEALOUS GOD…” (EXODUS 20:5)

13. JEHOVAH-JIREH OR YAHWEH-JIREH: ‘THE LORD WILL PROVIDE’. AS GOD PROVIDED THE RAM TO ABRAHAM AS A SACRIFICE IN PLACE OF ISAAC, HE PROVIDED HIS SON, JESUS, AS A SACRIFICE FOR US.

14. JEHOVAH SHALOM OR YAHWEH-SHALOM: ‘THE LORD IS PEACE’ OR ‘THE LORD OUR PEACE’. WHEN GIDEON BUILD THE ALTAR, HE NAMED IT ‘THE LORD OUR PEACE’. HE WAS COMFORTED IN BEING TOLD HE WOULD NOT DIE AFTER SEEING THE ANGEL OF THE LORD. WE CAN FIND PEACE IN THE TRINITY TODAY.

15. JEHOVAH SABAOTH OR YAHWEH-SABAOTH: ‘THE LORD OF HOSTS’. GOD IS THE LORD OF ALL THE ARMIES OF ANGELS IN HEAVEN AS WELL AS LORD OF ALL MEN. IN HIS TIME HIS ARMIES WILL DESTROY ALL EVIL ON THIS EARTH. AGAIN, THE LORD WILL PROVE HE IS THE ‘ONE’ LORD.

16. EL ROI: ‘GOD OF SEEING’ OR ‘GOD SEES ALL’. THIS IS THE NAME GIVEN BY HAGAR WHEN SHE MET THE ANGEL OF THE LORD. GOD SEES US IN ALL OUR SITUATIONS. EVEN IN OUR FAILURES AND FEARS, GOD SEES US AND NEVER IGNORES US.

17. EL-GIBHOR: ‘MIGHTY GOD’. WE FIND REFERENCES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT BOOK OF ISAIAH OF THE PROPHESY OF JESUS CHRIST AND IN THE FINAL BOOK OF THE NEW TESTAMENT IN REVELATION 19:15. GOD WILL BE MIGHTY AND WILL DESTROY ALL HIS ENEMIES…’ALL HIS ENEMIES’…CONVINCING OF HOW MIGHTY GOD IS.

18. ELOHIM: ‘GOD IN TRINITY’. ELOHIM IS THE PLURAL FORM OF ELOAH. WE WITNESS THIS PLURALITY IN GENESIS 1 AS GOD CREATED THE WORLD.

19. YAHWEH-ELOHIM: ‘LORD GOD’ OR ‘LORD OF LORDS’. THIS IS A COMBINATION OF GOD’S POWERFUL NAME YHWH AND LORD, PROVING HIM LORD OF LORDS.

20. ‘THE SILENT NAME’: THIS IS THE UNSPOKEN NAME YOU USE TO CONVERSE WITH GOD, A NAME GOD UNDERSTANDS WHEN YOU COME TO HIM IN PRAYERS OF THANKS, PRAYERS OF PRAISES AND PRAYERS OF REQUESTS. THIS UNSPOKEN NAME IS THE FAITH CONNECTION YOU HAVE WITH YOUR LORD, A PERSONAL REVERED CONNECTION THAT WHEN YOU CALL UPON HIM, GOD HEARS AND KNOWS IT IS YOU!

THIS 20TH NAME IS SPECIAL. THERE ARE MANY RELIGIONS AROUND THE WORLD CLAIMING NUMEROUS GODS. YET, OUR GOD IS THE ONE TRUE GOD WHO MAKES HIMSELF AVAILABLE TO TALK WITH YOU AT ANY INSTANT. LIKE PICKING UP A TELEPHONE WITHOUT HAVING TO DIAL A NUMBER, GOD IS THERE. WHEN YOU PRAY, YOU NEVER ARE PUT ON HOLD, GET A BUSY SIGNAL OR A RECORDING OF THE NUMBER BEING DISCONNECTED. SPEAK GOD’S UNSPOKEN NAME. CALL ON HIM. GOD IS WAITING FOR YOU TO TALK WITH HIM.

AS YOU GO THROUGH YOUR WEEK AHEAD, REFLECT ON THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD AND HIS MANY NAMES AND HOW EACH OF GOD’S CHARACTERISTICS ARE WITH YOU EVERY DAY. SHARE THESE WITH OTHERS. SHARE THESE JOYS, COMFORTS AND SECURITIES WITH ALL GOD’S PEOPLES.

“STORY LINE”

EVERY WEEK, I RECEIVE COMMENTS IN RESPONSE TO THESE “WEDNESDAY MINUTE” DEVOTIONALS. READERS WRITE OF EMOTIONAL TURNING POINTS IN THEIR LIVES, HOW THE DEVOTIONAL TOUCHED THE HEART OF A LOVED ONE OR OF A DEEP REFLECTION OF SPIRITUAL NEEDS AND GROWTH. SOME WRITE OF A TROUBLED SOUL OF THEMSELVES OR A RELATIVE. ALL IN ALL, I RECEIVE THE BIGGEST BLESSING IN DISCOVERING HOW “WEDNESDAY MINUTE” IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN SO MANY LIVES. ISN’T IT GREAT HOW GOD CAN USE SUCH A SIMPLE ‘STORY LINE’ AND RELATE HIS HOLY WORD TO HELP US?

THE ONE QUESTION I AM ASKED MOST OFTEN IS: “WHERE DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR SO MANY ‘WEDNESDAY MINUTE’ DEVOTIONALS?” THE SECOND MOST ASKED QUESTION IS: “WHO HELPS ME WRITE THESE DEVOTIONALS?” BOTH QUESTIONS HAVE THE SAME ANSWER. IF IT WERE UP TO ME ALONE, FEW WORDS WOULD EVER BE WRITTEN. THE ‘STORY LINE’ IS GIVEN TO ME AS GOD’S INSPIRATION FROM SOMETHING I HEARD, READ OR WITNESSED SOMEONE EXPERIENCE. GOD IS THE ONLY ONE WHO HELPS ME WRITE THESE DEVOTIONALS. WITHOUT GOD’S INSPIRATION, THESE WORDS WOULD NEVER MAKE IT TO YOUR INBOX. I COULD NOT DO THIS WITHOUT GOD. KNOWING GOD’S WORD IS IMPORTANT, BUT KNOWING JESUS DIED SO THAT I MIGHT LIVE AND HAVING THE HOLY SPIRIT TO GUIDE ME MAKES THE DIFFERENCE. I TAKE NO CREDIT.

WHEN A FRIEND FIRST ENCOURAGED ME TO WRITE THESE DEVOTIONALS, I TOLD HIM I COULD NOT DO IT. GOD SHOWED ME I COULD NOT ONLY WRITE, BUT THESE MESSAGES WOULD BE RECEIVED AROUND THE WORLD. THESE DEVOTIONALS ARE NOW BEING EMAILED TO BELIEVERS IN 7 COUNTRIES OVER 4 CONTINENTS. I HAVE HUMBLY UNDERSTOOD HOW GOD CAN USE AN UNDESERVING SOUL. I GIVE ALL CREDIT TO GOD THE FATHER, JESUS THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT!

GOD IS THERE FOR YOU AS WELL. YOU MAY ALSO WRONGLY FEEL THAT YOU CAN’T MAKE A DIFFERENCE. EACH TIME YOU MEET SOMEONE, LOOK FOR GOD’S ‘STORY LINE’ IN THEIR LIFE. NO MATTER WHO WE ARE TO OTHERS OR HOW WE ARE SEEN, WE ARE SPECIAL AND LOVED BY GOD. LOOK FOR THE PART OF THAT PERSON THAT GOD LOVES. WHEN YOU SEE WHAT GOD LOVES IN OTHERS, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE MORE CLEARLY WHAT GOD LOVES IN YOU!

WHAT IS YOUR SPECIAL TALENT…THAT VERY SPECIAL GIFT FROM GOD? DON’T HIDE IT. ALLOW GOD TO CONTROL YOU THROUGH PRAYER OVER YOUR GOD GIVEN TALENTS. USE THE TALENTS GIVEN TO YOU BY GOD TO HELP OTHERS. ARE YOU TO COMFORT OTHERS, BUILD A HOME FOR THE NEEDY, WITNESS TO THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW CHRIST, TEACH A BIBLE CLASS OR SUPPORT A MINISTRY? IT MAY START WITH A SIMPLE SMILE…BUT, THAT MAY BE THE ONLY SMILE OTHERS SEE ALL DAY! REACH OUT AND DISCOVER SOMEONE’S ‘STORY LINE’ TODAY. WHAT TALENT HAS GOD GIVEN YOU AND HOW ARE YOU TO USE IT?

MAKE YOUR ‘STORY LINE’: “LET GO AND LET GOD!”

“IN A LARGE HOUSE THERE ARE ARTICLES NOT ONLY OF GOLD AND SILVER, BUT ALSO OF WOOD AND CLAY, SOME ARE FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES AND SOME FOR COMMON USE. THOSE WHO CLEANSE THEMSELVES FROM THE LATTER WILL BE INSTRUMENTS FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES, MADE HOLY, USEFUL TO THE MASTER AND PREPARED TO DO GOOD WORK.” 2 TIMOTHY 2:20-21 NIV

“IS GOD ENOUGH?”

“THE RABBLE WITH THEM BEGAN TO CRAVE OTHER FOOD, AND AGAIN THE ISRAELITES STARTED WAILING AND SAID, ‘IF ONLY WE HAD MEAT TO EAT!'” NUMBERS 11:4 NIV

READ NUMBERS 11:1-35

IT SOMETIMES SEEMS THE MORE WE HAVE THE MORE WE WANT. ARE WE NEVER SATISFIED? WE TAKE LIFE ON LIKE A BUFFET RESTAURANT. WE GO BACK FOR SECONDS AND THIRDS IN OUR EFFORTS TO HAVE MORE. IF ONE DESSERT IS GOOD, THEN A SECOND HAS TO BE BETTER. THE NEW CAR WAS ONLY NEW FOR DAYS OR WEEKS OR MAYBE A FEW MONTHS TO MOST. NOW, THE NEW CAR IS TWO YEARS ‘OLD’ AND THE NEWEST MODEL IS LOOKING BETTER AND BETTER. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN A SHOE REPAIR SHOP WAS IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD, READY TO PUT NEW HEELS AND SOLES ON THOSE OLD SHOES TO MAKE THEM LIKE NEW AGAIN. NOW, WE JUST BUY A NEW PAIR OF SHOES.

WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?

IN READING THE 11TH CHAPTER OF NUMBERS, WE FIND SEVERAL MESSAGES. THE PEOPLE HAD BEEN RESCUED FROM EGYPT, BUT WERE NOT GRATEFUL OF GOD’S MERCY. THESE REFUGEES WERE CONSIDERING THEIR ENSLAVEMENT IN EGYPT AS NOT SO BAD. HOW SOON THEY FORGOT THE BEATINGS, HARD LABOR AND EVEN DEATH AT THE HANDS OF THE EGYPTIANS.

THE PEOPLE COMPLAINED OF LITTLE FOOD AND GOD SENT THEM MANNA. THEY WERE SATISFIED FOR A SHORT WHILE. ARE WE AS UNGRATEFUL FOR WHAT GOD HAS SUPPLIED? IT WAS NOT LONG UNTIL WE GET TO VERSE 4, WITH GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE DECLARING “IF WE ONLY HAD MEAT!”. IN THIS VERSE, THE GROUP IS DESCRIBED AS A RABBLE…A VOCIFEROUS, ROWDY, DEMANDING CROWD. IT HAD GONE PAST THE POINT OF A FEW BEING DISSATISFIED WITH GOD’S SUPPLY. NO MATTER, THEY WANTED MORE.

HAVE WE REALLY CHANGED OVER THESE THOUSANDS OF YEARS? AREN’T WE AS A PEOPLE AND INDIVIDUALLY STILL CLAMORING FOR MORE WHILE EXPRESSING OURSELVES IN DISOBEDIENCE? WHEN WILL WE BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL GOD HAS PROVIDED AND HUMBLY GIVE HIM THANKS FOR ALL HE HAS DONE, IS DOING AND WILL DO FOR US?

WITH ALL THIS GRUMBLING, MOSES ALSO BECAME DISENCHANTED. IN VERSES 11-15, MOSES VOICED HIS DISPLEASURE WITH THE WAY GOD WAS HANDLING THE SITUATION. IT SEEMED TO MUCH FOR MOSES TO BEAR. AREN’T WE ALSO LIKE MOSES WHEN WE TOO ARE FACING A SITUATION THAT IS ‘TOO MUCH TO BEAR’? WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU COMPLAINED TO GOD THAT HE WAS NOT GIVING YOU WANT YOU WANTED OR NOT GETTING IT ON YOUR TIMETABLE?

GOD HAD MOSES GATHER 70 ELDERS TO ASSIST HIM IN DEALING WITH THE PEOPLE. THEN, GOD (ALTHOUGH ANGRY WITH HIS PEOPLE) SUPPLIED THE MEAT THEY DEMANDED. QUAIL WAS STACKED THROUGH OUT THE CAMP OF AN ESTIMATED TWO MILLION PEOPLE! THEN IN HIS ANGER, GOD CAST A PLAGUE UPON THE PEOPLE. THIS SOUNDS HARSH. GOD IS A LOVING GOD, BUT HE DISCIPLINES HIS PEOPLE. HAVE YOU FOUND LIFE MORE DIFFICULT WHEN YOU ARE WALKING IN DISOBEDIENCE?

WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS LIVING IN THIS SINFUL WORLD, BUT OUR TROUBLES CAN WORSEN WHEN WE STEP OUT ON OUR OWN AND ARE NOT HOLDING THE LOVING HANDS OF GOD. WHEN WE DEPEND UPON OURSELVES AREN’T WE SAYING “GOD IS NOT ENOUGH. GOD IS NOT DOING WHAT I EXPECT, SO I AM GOING TO HELP HIM OUT”. IF YOUR CHILD TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE NOT DOING ENOUGH AND YOU KNEW YOU WERE DOING THE VERY BEST FOR THEM, ALL THEY NEEDED IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION, WOULDN’T YOU BE ANGRY?

WHY DO WE THINK GOD HAS NO RIGHT TO BE ANGRY WITH US? TOO MANY FEEL GOD WILL NO LONGER PUNISH US. TOO MANY WILL DECIDE GOD IS NOT ENOUGH AND WILL TAKE ON THE WAYS OF THE WORLD IN ORDER TO HAVE MORE. THEY MAY HAVE MORE MATERIAL THINGS ON THIS EARTH, BUT BE EXCHANGING THEIR ETERNITY IN HEAVEN FOR THE FALSE RICHES ON THIS EARTH.

JESUS TOLD US IN MATTHEW 7:13-14:
“ENTER THROUGH THE NARROW GATE; FOR THE GATE IS WIDE AND THE WAY IS BROAD THAT LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, AND THERE ARE MANY WHO ENTER THROUGH IT. FOR THE GATE IS SMALL AND THE WAY IS NARROW THAT LEADS TO TO LIFE, AND THERE ARE FEW WHO FIND IT.”

THERE ARE SOME WHO PREACH YOU CAN HAVE ALL YOU WANT; EXPENSIVE CARS, HUGE HOUSES, CLOSETS OF CLOTHES AND SHOES, MORE AND MORE MONEY BECAUSE WE ‘DESERVE IT’. DO WE DESERVE RICHES ONLY OF THIS EARTH?

ISN’T GOD ENOUGH? IF YOU THINK NOT, ASK HIM IN DEVOTED PRAYER. GOD IS ALL WE NEED. WE WILL HAVE OTHER THINGS IN THIS LIFE TO ENJOY AND BE SATISFIED WITH ONCE WE ACCEPT ‘GOD IS ENOUGH’!

TODAY WE SAW GOD PROVIDING FOR AND DISCIPLINING HIS PEOPLE. NEXT WEEK’S “SUNDAY’S SERMON” WILL BE “THE TWENTY NAMES OF GOD” AS WE LOOK AT THE PERFECT PERSONALITIES OF OUR LORD.

“THE RIGHT THING”

CHOICES. WE MAKE THEM EVERY DAY. IT WOULD SEEM THE CHOICES WOULD GET EASIER, BUT FOR SOME OF US IT TAKES A LIFETIME TO UNDERSTAND WHY WE DO THE THINGS WE DO. WHEN MY SONS WERE YOUNGSTERS, I TOLD THEM OF CHOICES. FACED WITH A SITUATION, WE HAVE ONE CHOICE IN FOUR TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION.

BY A PROCESS OF ELIMINATION WE CAN EVALUATE THE FACTS AND MAKE A DECISION. WE CAN:

1) DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE WRONG REASON
2) DO THE WRONG THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON
3) DO THE WRONG THING FOR THE WRONG REASON
4) DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON

IT SEEMS EASY WHEN YOU MAKE THIS SIMPLE LIST. OF COURSE, WE ALL WOULD LIKE TO DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON. SATAN IS SURE TO THROW SOME CONFUSION INTO OUR ABILITY TO DISCERN. THERE ARE TIMES WE EVALUATE INFORMATION AND STILL MAKE THE WRONG CHOICE, ONLY TO DISCOVER OUR ERROR AT A LATER TIME. OTHER TIMES, THE CHOICES BECOME CLOUDY. EVEN AS WE MATURE, WE STILL MAKE BAD DECISIONS. DECISIONS ARE MADE WITHOUT THINKING THRU A SITUATION, IGNORING THE WARNING SIGNS OR SIMPLY JUST DOING WHAT WE WANT WHEN WE KNOW BETTER. WE ARE STILL LIVING IN THE SIN WHICH ADAM AND EVE DELIVERED TO MANKIND.

GOD’S WAY IS ALWAYS THE RIGHT WAY. WE SHOULD DEPEND UPON ONE QUESTION; “WHAT DOES GOD WANT ME TO DO?”. GOD GAVE US 10 SIMPLE COMMANDMENTS TO GUIDE OUR LIVES…10 ABSOLUTES THAT ARE EASY TO UNDERSTAND. YET, WE STILL MAKE BAD CHOICES. WE CREATE OUR OWN ‘IF, AND, OR, BUT’ EXCEPTIONS.

WHEN YOU HAVE NOT DONE ‘THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON’, ISN’T IT A BLESSING TO KNOW THAT GOD CAN FORGIVE YOU? GOD WILL FORGIVE YOU IF YOU HAVE MADE THE ‘BEST’ RIGHT DECISION. WHAT IS THE ‘BEST’ RIGHT DECISION? IF YOU HAVE TRUSTED JESUS TO BE YOUR SAVIOR, YOU HAVE DONE THE ‘BEST’ RIGHT THING.

IF YOU HAVEN’T ASKED JESUS INTO YOUR LIFE, ISN’T IT TIME TO ‘DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON’?

“THIS IS HOW WE KNOW WHO THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE AND WHO THE CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL ARE: ANYONE WHO DOES NOT DO WHAT IS RIGHT IS NOT GOD’S CHILD, NOR IS ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LOVE THEIR BROTHER AND SISTER.” I JOHN 3:10 NIV.