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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Being still before the Lord

I currently have complete silence surrounding me and am ready for an outpouring of whatever comes in this moment of being still.  Lord as I praise Your name, and meditate on what each one of your names mean in worship of You, allow me to see those dimensions of You in new ways.  I am truly thankful for the necessary work You are doing in my heart, but Lord I ask, seek, and knock diligently requesting a fuller measure of Your Presence in my life.  What I have of You in my life is NOT enough, and I will pursue You until my heart is full.  For those that have eyes to see and ears to hear, God grant us this prayer of requiring more of You.  Lord for those that this is utter foolishness to, bless them abundantly and soften their hearts so that they may also *know* You and Your power available to walk us through times of joy and also deep despair and everything in between.

Even in my constant thirst for more, my desert walk towards the river of life, I am constantly encountering the Lord in more ways.  I see His sanctified children around me, the joy of the Lord being their strength, their hearts always willing to help, their ability to stand on the word of God even when what surrounds them in this life speaks out the opposite, continually seeking God, not waiting until they need something from Him, but enjoying their time spent with Him, every moment of it.  I want that in my own life.  I have attained a touch of it, but not enough to sustain me even on my good days.  I am broken and I know it, and that allows God to do something with me.  It took me a long time to see that I wasn't a 'good person'.  I am made in the Father's image so obviously I have good qualities, as does everyone else, believer's or not.  It's not until we accept Jesus as our Savior and ask Him to send His Spirit to live in us and guide us into all truth that we can truly see how dark our hearts are.  It's nothing to be ashamed of though, this is exactly why Jesus died for us.  Those belittling thoughts we think about other people, that prideful stance we take in our knowledge or in our ability to perform well, the greed that consumes us from the moment we realize there's always more to be had, the vanity, the lust, the selfishness, the hatred, the resentment, the bitterness...  Jesus didn't die for the righteous, he died for the sinners!  When we accept Him, we are made righteous in Him, we are then saints.  We have a role to play in working out our salvation,  and that is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit of God in all things.  Far too many of us gratefully accept our salvation, but never place the Lord where He belongs in our lives.  Why?  Paul urged us not to accept our salvation in vain.  To me, if I do something in vain then there was no point at all to it.  That's a horrible thought when referring to our salvation!  So then, why don't we listen and obey the Spirit of God's leading in His still and quiet impressions on our spirits?  I've come to the conclusion that 1) it's because we're ignorant of the role He is to play, we've been mislead by the God box that we've grown up sitting in, and quite plainly we know of God, but we do not Him personally or 2) we don't trust Him to lead us in all things, we need to make our own decisions and then pray to Him that He helps them work out for our good.  I'm sure there are a myriad of other reasons, but those are the two on my heart.

My heart breaks for both the lost and the found, but lately it's the found that are still lost that make my heart ache.  When Jesus comes back, it will be day of rejoicing and also a day of relentless pain.  When most people say that I used to think believer's rejoice and unbeliever's will know by sight and it'll be too late to save their souls therefore the ensuing pain begins.  I wonder though, Jesus speaks frequently about His kingdom to come and the people to who these things are addressed to are believer's, Spirit-filled believer's at that.  Jesus is coming back and will judge the believer's before the unbeliever's, at least that's what His word says.  How much pain will we be in, when we are held accountable for every thing we've done that we haven't put under the blood of the cross (some believe you're even held accountable for those things too, I personally don't, no scripture to back that one up)?  How will it feel to know that we led such pointless lives, not taking the time to continually lift things up in prayer, not abiding by the word of God that was written down for us so we wouldn't even have to rely on just the Spirit's leading like Jesus and the early apostles did?  We have the book of life at our fingertips and how often to we open it?  How often do we rely on someone to spoon feed us God's word, when we have everything we need to look ourselves?  Why is reading the bible not a priority to Christians?  It's the easiest way to hear from God b/c He inspired it. He knew we'd be living lives surrounded with distractions to keep our focus on anything and everything but Him.  He made it easy for us to see what His heart is for things, but yet we still don't pursue Him passionately.  Why?

Sometimes it's important to ask ourselves Why?  I hope that when you do and the answer you've been giving me as you're reading (b/c you know that we almost always refute and offer mental rebuttals as we read things we don't agree with, LOL) that you would stand solidly on that answer when speaking to the One that loved you so much that He allowed you to live your life however you wanted, serving Him or not, loving Him or not, searching Him or not.  For those that would like to take the time to know God, and who He says He is, I've C&P a list of scriptures from that discuss them.

Abounding Joy!The Names of God(Steve Hall—1999)


Psalm 113:3 says: From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised

Many times in Scripture we are commanded to praise the NAME of the Lord.
 Ps 8:1: O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
 Ps 29:2-- Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;
 Ps 7:17  I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
Ps 66:2  Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
Ps 100:4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Ps 103:1 ¶ <<A Psalm of David.>> Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Ps 135:3  Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
Ps 145:21  My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
Ps 148:13  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

Now why are we told to praise His Name?
 In Bible times a name was never just a label you hung on somebody to keep from confusing him with someone else.
 A name expressed the kind of person they were, or were hoped to become.
 That's why God sometimes changed a man's name. He intended for the person's character to be reflected in his name.
 So when He changed Simon to Peter, He said, in effect, "Don't see yourself as wishy-washy. You are a rock, a stone, firmly attached to the foundation stone (which is Christ).
 Saul, "the asked for one" was humbled to Paul--"Little one"
 Jacob "the supplanter" became Israel "who strives with God"
 So, in the case of God Himself, He gives Himself names that are really extensions of Himself. His names reveal His nature and His character.
 We will focus here on the compound names God has given himself, but first I want to briefly touch on four more general names He has given Himself.
 These are all Hebrew words, of course.


The first name we find of God in the Bible is Elohim. (Genesis 1:1). It is used over 2700 times in the Bible. The prefix "El" signifies  "one who is great, mighty, dreadful." It is also a plural word that suggests the fact that God is a Holy Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some say that the word is related to the Hebrew word meaning "to swear" and implies the covenant nature of God. So the word Elohim might have meant to the Hebrews, "The great mighty three-in-one God who establishes and keeps covenant forever."

El Shaddai

El Shaddai (remember the song?) is another name for God. It is used 48 times in Scripture. It is always translated "The Almighty." The first time this name is used is in Genesis 17:1  And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
 This was when God changed Abram's name to Abraham and promised that he would be the father of many nations.


A 3rd name that God uses for Himself is Adonai. It occurs about 300 times in the O.T. This name suggests Lordship and ownership. When God calls Himself by this name, Adonai, He is saying, "I am the One who owns and rules over everthing that exists."
 This is the name that Isaiah used in Chapter 6:1 when he wrote "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."
 His focus was on the truth that God owns and rules over all that exists.


But the most frequently used name for God  is not Elohim, El Shaddai, or Adonai.
 The most frequently used name for God is YAHWEH or Jehovah.
 It occurs more than 6800 times in the Bible.
 The greatest Jewish commentator on the O.T. of the Middle Ages, Moses Maimonides, said this about the name Jehovah (and it is a true statement), "All the names for God that occur in the Scriptures are derived from His works, except one, and that is Jehovah. And this is called the plain name because it teaches plainly and unequivocally of the substance of God."
 The Word literally means "I Am." It comes from the verb which means "to be" or "to exist."
 In Ex. 3:14, when Moses asked God what His name was so he could tell the Israelites who had sent him, we read, "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM [Yahweh, or Jehovah]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."
 Jehovah--The Eternal One. The Ever-Living One. The Self-Existent One.
 He lives from Eternity past to Eternity future. And everything else that lives gets its life from Him.

The Compound Names

Now, the rest of the names I want us to consider are used in conjunction with this name Jehovah. They are compound names. You many wish to make a chain of these verses in your Bible with His name and it's meaning written in the margin.
 We'll consider them in Biblical order, except for one, that I'll save for last.


The first one, Jehovah Jireh is found in Genesis 22:14. It literally means "The Lord Provides." When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac his son on Mount Moriah, Abraham immediately set out to obey. Abraham understood his covenant relationship with El Shaddai. He asks no questions. He simply proceeds to obey.
 When Isaac asked "where is the sacrifice?" Abraham softly answered, "God will provide." His heart must have been breaking. And even though he totally trusted God, he must have felt some confusion and bewilderment.
 Then, just as he raised the knife, the angel intervened. Abraham is shown a ram caught in a nearby thicket. And he cries out, "We will call the name of this place Jehovah Jireh!"
 Can you catch a little bit of the incredible emotion of that moment?
 My God provides for me! And we must remember that we will never have a need that the Eternal God does not know about. And He has called Himself, Jehovah Jireh, The Eternal God our Provider!
 So when you have a need, why not call out to Him by His name, "Jehovah Jireh!" God, my Provider, I have a need!" We used to sing a little song that said, "Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, His grace is sufficient for me. My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory. He gives His angels charge over me, Jehovah Jireh cares for me."


The Second compound name we come upon is Jehovah Rophe. It is in Exodus 15:26. It means "The Lord who Heals" In Ex 15:26 God said, "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
The word Rophe means to heal, restore, or cure. God doesn't just heal, God IS healing.  He is constantly healing us, and really, all His creation.
Sometimes He heals dramatically and  immediately. Sometimes He heals more slowly using doctors or medicine. In all cases, He heals us completely at the resurrection! But the healing process is a wonderful gift from our God, Jehovah Rophe.
So the next time you are physically, or emotionally, or otherwise sick, Why not call out to Jehovah Rophe? And begin to praise Him because He is God, your Healer.


Then there is Jehovah Nissi. This is found in Exodus 17:15. It literally means "God, my Banner or God my Standard of Victory" In Exodus 17:15 Moses named an Altar he built after this name of God. ("And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi")
Here is the background. The Amalekites had refused to allow the Israelites to pass through their land, so they had to fight. Moses sent Joshua into the valley to fight the battle, while Moses stood on the mountain to hold high the rod of God. The rod was their "standard." In those days, and even now, a standard was used during a battle to give a sense of identity and a gathering point.  It could be a flag, or a banner, or it could be only a high pole. But all the soldiers could see it. It represented victory.
So the next time that you are in heated spiritual warfare, remember that God is Jehovah Nissi. He is The Eternal God, your banner of Victory. We can praise Him with words like, "Thank you Jehovah Nissi, that You always give the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."


Next, in Lev 20:8 we find the compound name, Jehovah M'Kaddesh.
" And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you"
Literally, "I am the Lord Who makes you Holy." Or "Who sets you apart for My Use."
The second part of this name, "M'kaddesh" was used to refer to the various parts of the temple which were sanctified, or set apart, for the worship of God.
Now in N.T. times, where is the temple of God?
WE are God's temples. And He is to us Jehovah-McKaddesh. He himself makes us holy--separates us apart for His use. He Sanctifies us.
So, the next time you feel unworthy to be used by God or unfit for service, remember it is not you who makes yourself worthy or fit to serve, it is Jehovah-M'kaddesh! God, our Holiness!


The next name is found in Judges 6:24.
Here is the context. Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites. An Angel was sent from God to Gideon to remind him that the Lord was with him and that God was going to use Gideon to deliver Israel. At first, Gideon did not recognize the angel for who he was. And at first he argued with him.
When he finally did realize that he had been in the presence of an angel of God, he was terrified. He thought he might die. You and I would undoubtedly react the same way.
But God spoke peace to him in verse 23. And in verse 24 Gideon built an altar to the Lord and named it after this name of God, "Jehovah Shalom." "God is Peace!"
22  And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
23  And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
24  Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom:
The Nation was at war with the Midianites--but Gideon learned that not only does God give peace, But God IS our peace.
And the next time you are in a time of stress, turmoil, fear, anxiety, tension, or worry, try praising Jehovah Shalom, God your Peace.
Now if you are making a chain as we go, I'm skipping over one in Psalms now. I'll come back to it in a minute. So if you want to keep the chain in Biblical order, you may want to wait to write the rest in your Bible until later.


So let's go to Jeremiah 23.
The background here is tragic. Josiah had instituted reforms and revival had come, but wickedness was still deeply entrenched. And spiritual leaders had lied to the people and scattered the flocks of God. But in verses 5 and 6 God promises a better day is coming. This is a prophecy of the coming Messiah.
5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
6  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
In the Hebrew, The Lord Our Righteousness is Jehovah-Tsidkenu.
God is totally righteous. He demands righteousness in us. And He tells us in this verse that what He requires of us, He becomes to  us.
In 1 Cor 1:30, we are told that Christ Jesus has become to us righteousness. And in Him we  are declared to be righteous.
In 2 Cor 5:21 we read "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
Now this is so important. Satan wins many victories when we do not realize that our God is Jehovah Tsidkenu.
When you have failed, when you have stumbled, when you have sinned against God, Satan will try to tell you that you are so unworthy and so weak and so guilty that you are inadequate and insufficient to do anything worthwhile in God's service.
We must learn to repent and confess our sin to God, and then to gladly accept that He is Jehovah Tsidkenu, God our Righteousness. He has declared us to be righteous. It is His gift.  And we can go on boldly--not in our own righteousness, but in HIS.


Next go to Ezek 48:35. It is the last verse in the book of Ezekiel.
The last part of the vision of Ezekiel was of a new city, with a new temple. It was to be glorious. And the last words of this verse tell us the name of the city. In Hebrew is is named a compound name of God--Jehovah-Shammah. He is "The Eternal God who is There."
Now where is God today? He is HERE! He is the God who is with us.
The fire that left the temple in Ezekiel's day returned on the day of Pentecost and rested on the heads of men and women who had just become temples of God Almighty.
And now, God is here. He has promised never to leave us. So the next time you feel all alone, remember who He is and praise Him as Jehovah-Shammah--The Eternal God who is here.


Now let's go back to the one I skipped. It's in the 23rd Psalm. And you'll understand why I saved it for last.
The 23rd Psalm is an amazing Psalm. It is the favorite of many many people. And it begins with the words, "The Lord is my Shepherd." In the Hebrew it is "Jehovah-Rohi." The Eternal God is my shepherd.
He is our guide. He leads us. He feeds us. He comforts us. No other name of God carries the tenderness and intimacy of Jehovah-Rohi.
When we need to be reminded that the Lord is taking care of us, we can come to the 23rd Psalm and praise Him as Jehovah-Rohi.
But look closely at this brief Psalm. Let's read it together.
The LORD is my shepherd [He is Jehovah-Rohi--our shepherd]; I shall not want.
[What name does that remind you of? Jehovah-Jireh--our provider!]
2  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters [Jehovah-Shalom-our peace!].
3  He restoreth my soul [Jehovah-Rophe--our Healer!]: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake [Jehovah-Tsidkenu--our righteousness!].
4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me [Jehovah-Shammah--He is There!]; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies [Jehovah-Nissi--our Standard of Victory]: thou anointest my head with oil [Jehovah-M'Kaddesh--our Holiness; our sanctification]; my cup runneth over.
6        Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
What a wonderful, amazing God we serve! He has given us all these names, to remind us of His character--of Who He is.
So I'd like to encourage and challenge you to learn these names of God. And use them when you are alone with Him as an expression of praise to Him. You will find that using these awesome names of God will draw you into closer and more intimate fellowship with our wonderful, all-loving, all-wise, all-powerful heavenly Father.

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