Saturday, August 31, 2013

God of the Present

Exploring the meanings of the names of God that we see from the Bible is a neat study. Some of those names mentioned in the Bible are:
  • El Shaddai- God Almighty
  • El Elyon- God Most High
  • El Roi- God that sees
  • El Olam- The Eternal God
  • YHWH Jireh- God provides
  • YHWH Rophi- God that heals
  • YHWH Nissi- God is our banner
  • YHWH Shalom- God of peace
But as I was studying there was something that kept coming to mind; something was missing about these names. It wasn't in the differences between Latin (Jehovah) and Hebrew (YHWH) versions. It wasn't in the name actually at all but it is in the verb that stands with the name. These verbs are present tense. They are not past or future, but present. That means that God is not the God of the past. We can thank Him for what He has done of course but He is not the God of the past. He is not the God of the future. This is not to say that He has nothing to do with the future or that we don't have to care about our future eternal life. He is the God of the present. We live in the present. He cares about us now.
The best name for God is the one He gave Moses. I AM. Notice it is not "I was" or "I will be", but I AM. Sure, this also means He transcends all time and that time is meaningless to Him. But, with God there are always two meanings, one spiritual and one physical. This also means He is here with us now. So, when we say His name as Jehovah Jireh, we are not saying God will provide. We are saying God is providing! God will not heal, God is healing! God will not give us peace, God is peace! When Isaiah said that by His stripes we are healed it is not saying that we will be healed. It says we are! God provides our daily bread. God sets us at peace every morning because His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). If we believe then we receive.
Too many times we pray God if you will, when we should be saying thank you God for what you are doing. This is why Jesus told us to pray as though you have already received it (Mark 11:24). He is doing it now. This may show why sometimes things happen at once and others take time. We are in the process of receiving these promises that God will not forsake us. We live day by day. Our faith grows day by day. Our faith struggles if we have to wait for the results. The strongest of faith knows it is already done. But sometimes our faith goes through hard times so we can see the glory of God when time reveals. This is hard to do since we live in a physical world and our senses deceive us. We rely to many times on what we see, but we are not suppose to walk by sight but by faith. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Jesus' name is also Y'shua Ha Mashiach which means Jesus the Messiah, the Savior. When does He save? Now! Forever. With each day that comes, God provides, heals, sees, saves, and waves His banner of love over us (Exodus 17:15). We are forever His. The Great I AM is here, now, waiting for us to accept His promises and then watch our faith work.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Daily Dosage

When your stomach aches the thing most people reach for faster than any other thing is Pepto- Bismol. The instructions on the bottle say take 2 tablespoons every 1/2 to 1 hour as needed. When a headache comes around people start to reach for the Advil. The instructions say take 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours. When we suffer from allergies we take decongestants and antihistamines. Those instructions are basically the same; take a tablet every so often. When we are hungry we know we need to feed ourselves 3 times daily. The instructions here is try and complete the food pyramid to get a full and balanced diet. These are the things that when we feel bad, under the weather, not so right, or unbalanced we take to make us feel better in our lives so we can function properly. We know taking these things will help or at least give us some security that we have taken steps to make us feel better and that in and of itself gives us hope that we will be up and around like our old selves as much as possible. If this is the case, then why do we ignore the calling of our souls when they hurt? Our bodies scream to us to tell us we are not feeling well and we listen to it. Yet, when our souls cry out that we are hurting we ignore it. We need to feed our souls daily.

Jesus said He is the bread of life (John 6). He said those who believe in Him shall not thirst. Yet, so many people are thirsting and hungry on the inside. They have wholes intheir life that can not be filled by material matters or physical desires. Jesus told us to pray about giving us our daily bread. We are supposed to get a little Jesus every day! We wander this earth hurting and feeling alone. Our souls cry out and desire relationships. We ache and pain in our souls because we are not using the daily dosage prescribed by the Word of God; the instructions tell us to take it daily.

In Exodus 16 we see how God provided His people with a daily dosage of manna. Each and every day He faithfully allowed manna to fall from heaven and His people were filled. They were to collect all they could and let not one drop go to waste. Today we have spiritual manna. We have the Word of God. We have Jesus Christ. Manna is all around but we don't take our fill. We pick up pieces when we feel we need it. We let manna go to waste. We shall never go hungry if we take the daily bread.

If the wisdom of man is telling us to take certain substances to make our bodies feel better imagine how much more powerful the wisdom of God as He tells us to take Jesus, our daily bread, to make our souls feel better. Reading the Word, daily prayer, praise in the morning, worship at night. Take the manna, the bread of life daily and your soul will feel better.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-17
•10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
•11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
•12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
•13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
•14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
•15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
•16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
•17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
This thought has been used by many over the years but something I heard the other day made me realize something very special about this passage. Each piece not only has a specific job to do; that is common sense. None of these can stand alone. This is why Paul writes we need to put on the full armor of God. This is not to say that God has a weakness. It is to say man has a weakness. Any “armor” we put on that is of flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Any opening we give to the enemy is vulnerable. God wants us to completely trust in Him. Without trust in God our faith is weak. Without using all of the armor we show lack of trust or even worse, self pride. But what does each piece mean?
Helmet of Salvation. Why do we wear a helmet? To protect our head of course. Our eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Four out of our five senses are located in the head. It gives us direction and collects our bearings. They think, guide, and reason. So we have to protect these things if we want to protect our lives against the evils of this world. But there is a deeper meaning to this. Salvation! A helmet covers us. God’s salvation covers us. Our sins are covered. It starts at the top. It is the beginning. We all wash from head to toe. When our heads are covered, the rest follows. Since our sins are covered, the rest of salvation and the fight can begin.
Shield of Faith. Believing in our cause. When things of this world try and break us and tear us apart we have something that can block the attack. Our faith can get us through the worst of times. Paul tells us that when all things have passed away faith, hope, and love will remain. It is eternal. It is always here for us to use. But there is the catch. We have to use it! And the larger the shield, the better. Many of us have small amounts of faith. We can take small attacks in our lives but the more battered the less we feel safe with that shield. The larger the shield, the more we can defend with. The stronger the material, the more battering it can take. We need to build our faith each day so that nothing can break it or batter it. And we get a stronger faith by reading the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
Sword of the Spirit. Paul specifically tells us this is the word of God, scripture. It is our greatest weapon. With the Word in our hands we can stand against the enemy. Notice one major thing here; Paul writes about many defenses we have but we have one offense---SCRIPTURE! Everywhere in the Bible when the word “scripture” itself is used it means something that has been written down by God, etched in stone. What God has said nothing can overrule it. God’s word is final. When satan tries to tempt you and you want to fight back then quote scripture.
Shoes of Readiness. Sometimes we have to be mobile. Sometimes the path we have to take is rocky and hurts. Paul tells us to put on shoes that can protect our feet from the path we have to take. Breastplate of Righteousness. Your most vital organ is your heart. Many times we are told we have to protect our heart. God judges us by our hearts. If we love, forgive, show compassion, and trust then we have righteousness. This righteousness protects our hearts.
But after all of this the most important thought is still to come. Think of a soldier (from Paul’s time). He can put on a helmet but nothing else is protected. He can carry a sword but has to defend twice as hard. He can put on shoes and run if he needs to. He can carry a shield and wear a breastplate for better protection. But there is one thing that allows the armor to be fully connected. It connects offense with defense. The Belt of Truth! It attaches the upper and lower extremities. It keeps you from falling over your cloak. IT CARRIES YOUR SWORD! Without truth, nothing matters! If you do not have the truth, then what are you defending? Why would you need an offense? The truth of God is what the cause of Christ is all about. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. Because Jesus died (truth) and because He was the Son of God (truth) and because He rose again (truth) we have life. He showed the way by living the truth. We need to live the truth. We need to wear the full armor of God. And above all remember our struggle is not against flesh but against the spiritual forces that hate you.