WHAT’S IN A NAME? CREATOR

Do you pride yourself on being “CREATIVE?”  Can you put together a great party, shower or event? Can you take a blank piece of paper and draw something, anything, that looks similar to something else? Can you take 3 simple ingredients and make a meal out of them?

If you can do any of the above, then I consider you “CREATIVE!” I also, admire you!

As a teacher I used to commonly pronounce that I was a very good “copier.” I could observe others ideas and copy them well. It is not a hidden fact to anyone who knows me, that I can barely draw a stick figure that somewhat resembles a person. I was not personally gifted with an artistic flare!

My father however was! His handwriting to this day, remains the most beautiful I have ever come across. I have saved many cards and letters he has written, and even though he is in heaven now, I still love to take them out and look at them and read them.

He could also draw free hand and paint extremely well. His profession was a Contractor, but he still drew and painted on his truck and truck windows before it was an actual “thing!”

One of my sisters inherited his natural artistic ability, but I did not! I was in awe of the way they could look at a mountain and draw it or paint it and create something that actually seemed to come to life. My dad especially loved horses. He grew up on a farm, and when he finished playing professional baseball and settled down to run his contracting business, he bought an acre and a 1/4 of property within the city limits, but zoned for horses. I grew up with two, and at one point even three, horses in my backyard. My dad loved them, rode them and at one point decided to draw them. His painting of our horse looked almost more real than the horse itself. 

I posses, and to this day possess, many traits from my father, to my disappointment, one of them was not his artistic ability! To this day I stand in awe at Museums, art exhibits, and even school art fairs, and marvel at the ability to create something beautiful.

The realization came to me one day as I lay in the grass and looked up at the dancing leaves on our gigantic weeping willow tree. Through them, the whispey white clouds floating slowly across the clear blue sky…and then it hit me. Only the CREATOR Himself can truly create something out of nothing! What I marvel at, and is a gift given by the creator to some, is actually an excellent copy of the original.

My dad could draw and paint a horse. But he could not create the horse itself. Only God the CREATOR could do that. The best we can do is to reflect the image of what the CREATOR created in the first place.

To whom will you compare me?

Or who is my equal?” says The Holy One.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one,

and calls them each by name.

Because of His great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing…

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

 The Lord is the everlasting God,

the CREATOR of the ends of the earth.”            Isaiah 40:25-26, 28

We like to think we are creative and indeed we are prolific at making things! The list of human inventions over the last 100 years alone are phenomal! They indeed make life easier and are noteworthy. We have the ability to do this because we have been created in God’s image and we are his image bearers.

But only God Himself, The CREATOR, can create something out of nothing!

The definition of CREATE, is “to cause to exist, to bring into being.” 

God alone can truly cause something to exist that never existed before. God alone can take meaningless nothing, without form and void, and make it something significant.

Using the gifts God has put at our disposal, we as God’s image-bearers draw, paint, perform, compose, sculpt, weave, knit, cook, write, sew, and yes, even sometimes come up with something that has a fresh sound or look to it. But truly, the best creations of the image bearers are at most reminders of and reflections of our CREATOR Himself!

I love created things! I love climbing a mountain or skiing down it! I love sitting on the beach and watching the tide roll in and putting my feet in the sand as the powerful force of the water tries to drag me out to sea! I love watching the birds build a nest in my apple tree, and I love eating the sweet apples that grow on that tree! I love listening to children laugh as they play with each other on the jungle gym and I love seeing the joy in their faces as they eat sticky sweet cotton candy! In my heart I know that only the CREATOR God could bring any of this into existence. Only the CREATOR God could make any of this be!

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ONLY GOD IS TRULY WORTHY OF THE NAME CREATOR

Today as we claim the name CREATOR for God, my prayer is that we would give Him all the glory and credit for what ONLY HE CAN DO, CREATE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Prince of Peace

If I just had a little “Peace and Quiet!”  

How many times have I said that!  Maybe all of the times I am driving down the street and a car is pressuring me from behind to move a little faster.

Maybe it’s when I sit down to have my “quiet time” on Monday morningand the loud sounds from the neighbor’s gardeners start up and break my silence. Maybe it’s when I think about my endless to do list or pending bills.

Whatever it is, Peace seems illusive to me.

How about you?

Peace in this world seems to be what every beauty pageant contestant asks for, but what no one ever finds!

Perhaps we are looking for the wrong kind of peace?

Peace is defined in the dictionary as:

“A state of mutual harmony between people or groups of people, especially in personal relationships.”

Or,

“The normal freedom from civil commotion and violence in a community.”

Or,

“Freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, tranquility or serenity.”

I guess, that according to our last definition, there is no surprise that the number one requested gift from women is a “SPA DAY!”  At least we can escape for one day and pretend we are peaceful. The problem is that as soon as the “Spa Day” ends, we are right back in the annoying, distracting, anxiety-producing lives we left only a few hours earlier!

LIFE IS BASICALLY PEACE-LESS OR NON-PEACEFUL!

So, what does it mean to have a Savior in our lives that calls Himself, The Prince of Peace?

It means that instead of looking at PEACE as working from the outside in, as the world does, we have to start looking at PEACE as working from the inside out!

True PEACE comes to us from the Prince of Peace Himself. When He is living inside of us, we have His inner PEACE no matter what our outside circumstances may be.

Isaiah tells us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace,

And He will be called…Prince of Peace.”                            Isaiah 9:6

In John we are told that the ‘Peace of God,” is given to us by God Himself…

Peace I leave with you; my PEACE I give you. 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

John also tells us that this PEACE is with us even when we encounter trouble.

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

The PEACE of God, TRUE PEACE, begins on the inside of us, when Jesus, The Prince of Peace, lives in us! It is a peace that the world does not understand. 

The world looks at the outside circumstances that we all face…trials, problems, unforeseen circumstances, difficulties, disappointments, etc, etc, etc…and says, “If I only had a little peace and quiet, then I would be alright.”

But God says, you will face trials and issues and peace stealing situations of every kind, but when I am on the inside of you, you will have PEACE. True PEACE that can only come from the Prince of Peace.

And the Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”                                                              Philippians 4:7

We have a gift. The gift is a Person who himself is PEACE, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ!

Jesus is all we need!

Jesus is our perfection!

Jesus is our completeness!

Jesus is our reconciliation!

JESUS IS OUR PEACE, OUR PRINCE OF PEACE!

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IN THIS CRAZY CHAOTIC WORLD JESUS IS OUR PEACE.

In the beautiful Jewish word SHALOM, Jesus is offering us His Peace! All we have to do is allow Him to live inside of us and The Prince of Peace will produce His Perfect Peace in us and through us no matter how chaotic the world around us gets!

SHALOM MY FRIENDS!

May the PEACE of God be with you!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? THE ROCK

I LOVE ROCKS!

  That’s right, I’m a rock lover! While others are planning their vacations to Hawaii or some other exotic beach location, I am dreaming of the mountains! Those bigger than life masses of earth’s surface that rise to great elevations. At the bottom of them they seem stately and grand, almost too majestic to climb!  After ascending their peaks, via chairlift or by foot, their grandeur is nothing short of awe inspiring!

With your feet firmly planted on this massive rock of earth, you feel immovable! The ground beneath your feet is solid and firm. You feel an amazing sense of security as you stand on the rock’s dense, thick surface. The only disappointment of this grand rock you are on, is that you eventually come down. 

There is a ROCK that we never have to descend! It is surer than the highest mountain on earth! It is an immovable stronghold that we never have to break free of!

It is our Lord God, and He is The Rock!  One of the names in the Word of God given to God is ROCK!

The Lord is my ROCK, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is My ROCK, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold…For who is God besides The Lord? And who is The ROCK except our God…The Lord lives! PRAISE BE TO MY ROCK! Exalted be God my Savior.”          

  Psalm 18:1-2, 31, 46

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THE LORD GOD IS OUR ROCK, IN HIM WE STAND FIRM!

In the world we live in and in this life we lead, we find our feet on shaky ground too often.

Isn’t it reassuring to know that when we have God, we have The Rock, the solid, unshakable ground that our feet stand firmly on!

God is our ROCK, the firm foundation on which we stand when everything else is shifting and changing.

May this be our prayer as we plant our feet on the ROCK, our Lord God….

Lord, God, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, my ROCK and my Redeemer.”                                      Psalm 19:14

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? ABBA, FATHER

Today’s post is very personal. In this series on the names of God, AKA, ‘What’s In A Name?,’ this is my favorite one!

You know the song, “Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens…these are a few of my favorite things!”

Well, the name FATHER is my favorite name for God!

This weekend I missed my earthly father desperately!  We had a family wedding and my dad’s “Bobcat” got married!  My dad was the king of nicknames. My baby sister’s oldest son, Christopher, nicknamed “Bobcat” by my dad, got married to the love of his life. It was a wonderful ceremony and a great family weekend together! There was love, joy, laughter and most of all glory given to God. Every part of the celebration was perfect in every way. As I sat down in the second row to witness the marriage, I looked up. The sky was a beautiful hue of soft blue/gray as dusk was setting in. The majestic sierra mountains reached high into that sky in full splendor! The bride and groom were standing in front of a half circle of aspen trees whose leaves danced in the breeze.

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My heart was full of joy and thankfulness for their love and commitment to each other and Christ. With my eyes raised to the sky, I whispered under my breath, “Your Bobcat did good Dad!”

I was missing my Father!

A dull ache entered my heart as the pain of earthly separation became real! I thanked my heavenly Father for my earthly father and that he now resided in heaven with Him.

Then it hit me, the sweetest name on earth and in heaven is FATHER!

My heavenly Father is always with me, always present and always faithful! He knows me inside and out and He is as close as a whisper, a prayer and a heartbeat.

As I whispered the name Father, Father, Father, over and over, I felt the safe, secure warmth of my heavenly Father’s love fill me to overflowing! I smiled and let His love overwhelm me and take away any sorrow that remained.

Oh how I love that I have a heavenly Father who knows my name and I know His!

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”  Matthew 6:9

Hallowed means HOLY. Our heavenly Father, unlike our earthly fathers, is holy, perfect, and sacred! He is God, and yet gives us the right to call Him FATHER!

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.”  Ephesians 5:1

I am a child of God and I have a heavenly Father who calls me His child!

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I AM A CHILD OF GOD AND I HAVE A HEAVENLY FATHER THAT CALLS ME HIS CHILD!

Abba, Father, Daddy, I love you so!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Yahweh – The I Am

Maybe one of the most powerful names of God is “Yahweh”! The great I AM. Meaning, God is who he says He is: all powerful, all knowing, purposeful, and faithful. God will do what He says He will do!

How many people living in the world  today truly do what they say they will do? If you are anything like me, there are many times that I am not even able to do what I say I will do. Even when I have the best of intentions, life gets in the way! I mean to deliver that dinner I promised to a friend, but… I mean to go to that Bible study with my friend, but… I mean to be committed to the promises that I made, but…I am weak and limited because, 1) I don’t always remember well. 2) I don’t maintain the same enthusiasm to fulfill a promise at the time I made it. And finally, 3) life’s circumstances sometimes prevent me from keeping that promise.

Being faithful to who we say that we are and to do what we say we’ll do is difficult!  There may be even a perfectly good reason why we are not able to be faithful to what we said we would do. The “buts“ of this life seem to take over all too often. I intended to fufill that promise, but this “this” came up! And then, this other thing happened! And then I got sick.  We may try as hard as we can, but the “buts” of life’s circumstances seem to “but in!”

In contrast, Yahweh–Almighty God–never ever is not who He says he is! When He promises to be faithful, He is! When he promises to comfort us, He does! When He tells us to “fear not” because He is the great I AM, He delivers!

We are not alone in our “but“ circumstances! We actually find ourselves in good company with someone who struggled just like we do! In the book of Judges, we find a man named Gideon. Gideon knew God, just like we do. He believed in God, just like we do. But he allowed his circumstances to allow the “buts” to dictate his life!

When we see Gideon in Judges 6, he’s hiding. Have you ever done that? I know I have. I have retreated into my quiet place when life‘s circumstances have just been too difficult! I have not stopped believing in God. I have not stopped trusting God. But I have momentarily forgotten who God says He is and who God says I am.

God sends his angel to Gideon right where Gideon is. Not after Gideon has straightened up his life. Not after Gideon has remembered who God is and who God says Gideon is. God sends his angel to Gideon in the middle of his hiding, his fear, his doubt. And he tells him something that I believe he wants to tell us today:

Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!

Judges 6:12

God reminds Gideon that He hasn’t abandoned Gideon, nor God’s people. He is getting ready to do something amazing, through the life of His servant Gideon. But first God has to remind Gideon of who God is, and who God will help Gideon become. Gideon,  remember that I am with you. And remember that you are a valiant warrior!  With that introduction, God would show Himself faithful to Gideon, and use Gideon to bring about the deliverance of God’s people. 

Within the truth of the name of God, Yahweh, the great I AM, lies the truth that God is who He says He is and if we believe that then we are who God says we are!

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God is who He says He is, and you are who He says you are!
Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? The God Who Sees

Have you ever felt invisible? I mean seriously, unseen by others standing right beside you!

I have! You work at something with all of your heart, time, effort and skill.  You put in ridiculous hours and go the extra mile to assure that nothing but excellence occurs. You plan, execute, check and double check to ensure nothing is lacking. Then it happens. The work is complete. You have reached the time for your hard work to be noticed. Everyone is gathered. Everything is flowing with precision, and everyone feels the benefits of your hard work and care. The word is spoken, all the platitudes are dispensed, all the accolades given and your name is never mentioned!  No one says thank you, no one pats you on the back, no one even notices your contribution. Worse yet, someone else takes the credit!

Our spirit drops low, we feel our heart sink as if someone literally reached in, grabbed a valve and deflated it. We try and hold it together. We keep a plastic smile plastered on our face, while our soul feels let down.

However, if we claim the name, ‘The God Who Sees,’ we realize that we are seen. Truly seen for the person we are. No gloss, no pasted on expressions and no apologies. We are both seen and known by God Himself.

He whispers to us in His still small voice, “I see you, I know what you have done,” and the reality of who we actually did it for, SAVES US!

It saves us from misplaced priorities. It saves us from reliance on any one person. It saves us from pride and arrogance. 

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The God who sees us, not only sees us, but SAVES us!

She gave this name to The Lord who spoke to her, “You are the One God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen The ONE who sees me.” Genesis 16:13

As Hagar, an Egyptian servant girl, is used and abused by her owners Sarai and Abram, she flees alone and pregnant, hopeless and shattered into the literal wilderness.

There, alone and lost, she is spoken to by the God who sees! He saw her!

In the following verse, Genesis 16:14, the well at which Hagar fell, is named in memorial to her testimony of God SEEING her when she felt invisible!

So that well was named ‘Beer-lahai-roi’ which means “well of the Living One Who Sees Me!” It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered.”          Genesis 16:14

THIS IS EVERYTHING MY FRIENDS! When we realize that it is THE LIVING ONE, GOD HIMSELF, who sees us. 

We may find ourselves in thankless jobs or ministries. We may find ourselves in selfish groups that struggle with jealousy and find it hard to give credit where credit is due. We may find ourselves in hopeless situations with no way out. And we may even find ourselves sad and desperate in the throws of depression and isolation. 

REGARDLESS, THE LIVING ONE, GOD HIMSELF, SEES YOU!

His desire is to show you compassion and importance in just being you, by restoring you and filling you with His Love!

Will you trust God today with the work of your hands and the thoughts of your heart?

You are not unnoticed or unseen! YOU ARE SEEN AND LOVED BY THE LIVING GOD HIMSELF!

Speak Truth Love

WHAT’S IN A NAME? EL SHADDAI

Do You See Feminine Characteristics In God?

We all know that names are very personal. We name our children names that we love or are associated with someone we love. But we also take lots of time and thought in making sure those names will not scare them for life!

Well, most of us do anyway. I seriously do not know how to explain a name like Apple or Pear, unless you have an uncanny attachment to fruit? But most of us think very carefully about a name before assigning it to a person we love, even if the name is a family name and we may not necessarily love it.

I believe that God is SO MUCH BIGGER than our human minds can conceive! He is BIGGER than all of the names we can name Him. He is also BIGGER than any image our minds can conjure of a single gender!

One of my favorite lines about God is: “God is God and I am NOT!”

It is not my job to figure out who God is in every aspect, it is my job to KNOW Him!

My prayer in this series, ‘WHAT’S IN A NAME?’ is that we will get to KNOW God better.

To know God is to spend time with Him. To read the Love Letter He wrote to us and to pray for His spirit to fill us and to give us His wisdom and understanding. All of these things are promised to us when we have Jesus! So it only seems right that we look at the names of God to learn more about His character.

The dictionary definition of a name is: “A word or combination of words by which a person is designated, called or KNOWN.”

Did you catch that?

“…by which a person is known!”

KNOWN is such a great word! Since words are after all my Love Language, and I feel loved and demonstrate love through words, I would love to spend several Blogs covering the depth of the word KNOWN. For now, let’s just explore a few significant descriptions of this word for this Blog series sake.

KNOWN = “To perceive or understand as fact or TRUTH; (that is another favorite word of mine…Truth with a  capital T, as in The Truth,) to apprehend clearly and with certainty!”

AKA – To KNOW the situation fully!

Oh, how I love word studies! Please bear with me. It is so amazing the way God reveals Himself to us through His words!

KNOWN =”To be cognizant or aware of.”

AKA – To KNOW it!

And,

KNOWN = “to understand from experience or attainment.”

AKA – to know how something works or functions!

And finally, the best is saved for last…

“Drum roll please, as my grandson would say,…”

KNOWN = “To be acquainted with by sight, experience or report!”

AKA – To know God because you have spent time with Him!

Could I make it any more clear? Or should I say, could GOD make it any more clear to us?

To KNOW God, in part, is to understand the names by which He is called.

This week we start with ‘El Shaddai.’

Not only did Amy Grant, (Now I realize I just lost most of you under the age of 40),  write a beautiful song with this very title, but the Word of God speaks this name of God many times. It is in Genesis, Isaiah, the Psalms, as well as Matthew.

It has been studied and said of this particular name of God, that ‘El Shaddai’ comes as close to capturing the feminine characteristics of God as any. 

Now, I told you I love Word Studies, so hang with me! I believe it is important for us to comprehend as best as we can, what the intent of this name of God is.

In Hebrew, names are given as descriptions of people as well as a title. 

For example, Simon bar Jonah, whom Jesus later names Peter, is Son of Jonah.

When Jesus changes his name to Peter, it is also descriptive. Jesus calls him ‘The Rock,’ on which He will build His church!

In Hebrew the name Elis shortened from Elohim, it is defined as the strength and might, the excellence of God. Shad is defined as “breast.” The words together, Shaddai, picture the bounty or fullness of God; His tenderness, His generosity, and His desire to make us fruitful and to fulfill us. 

In one name, El Shaddai, the attributes of both might and tenderness are brought together in beautiful unity.

It was ‘El Shaddai’ who appeared to Abram and told him He would make him the “Father of many nations” inGenesis 17:5.

It was ‘Elohim Shaddai’ who gave birth to the nation of Israel in Genesis 42:14.

Jacob, when he is pronouncing God’s blessing over his son Joseph, says, “Because of the El and the Shaddai, may you have blessings of the breast and the womb” in Genesis 49:25.

Clearly we are learning that God in His infinite wisdom and character is beyond our grasp of both male and female. To know Him is to be fully complete in both, lacking nothing!

Do we see feminine characteristics in God? I believe we do. The name El Shaddai holds both for us in a divine and spectacular way!

My favorite of all is depicted in the Psalms. The psalmist is feeling like a weaned child when he writes,

Why am I being deprived of what, from my point of view, seems so good and right?”     Psalm 131:1

And

But their souls are still and quieted like a weaned child with his mother.”  Psalm 131:2

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A Mother’s tender love is revealed in the character of El Shaddai.

The name of God, El Shaddai, holds the beautiful heart of a mother. As she demonstrates care and compassion for her child, she tenderly nurtures and cares for him/her. As her child grows and is weaned she demonstrates strength and wisdom as she continues to hold her child close to her heart while at the same time letting go of that child to grow on his/her own.

This is a MYSTERY my friends. One that I intend to ask of my God face to face someday.

Loving, nurturing, sacrificing for and caring for and then letting that child go. It is as unnatural as loving and caring for your child in the first place! Yet we are called to do just that.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are old they will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

This verse implies that we are to “train them up“, and then let them go!

It does not take a phycologist to tells us that holding on too tightly to our children is not healthy for them, for us, or for anyone else in a relationship with us.

Why then does it feel like our heart is being ripped out when they leave us?

Because we have loved them like our Father, El Shaddai, has loved us! With true sacrifice, compassion, care and love, and then we have let go with a strength that only He can give us.

And we survive “letting go” because we have our Heavenly Father, the Great El Shaddai, who is Almighty, and strong, holding us close to His heart and tenderly loving us through it!

Cling to Him my friends, call out His compassionate and tender name, ‘El Shaddai,’ and allow Him to hold you close and take you through whatever you are going through!

He cares for you! He is the Great El Shaddai!

Speak Truth Love