Friday, July 29, 2005

The Use of Tongues

Another Voice: True Story

This is not the only story I have heard about people speaking/understanding other languages.

YHWH - Jehovah, Jireh, Raah and Rapha

YHWH - these letters appear together over 6500 times in the OT, a name for God whose translation was lost as it was unused to keep from the possibility of taking it in vain. Rendered as LORD in most Bibles, we loose the meaning. YHWH - the self existent omnipotent God.

Jehovah Jireh - the God who provides. I find it interesting that in Genesis 22, when Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son, his only son, the fulfillment of the promise of nations, he knows already that God will provide. His obedience is total, his faith secure, not matter what it is the LORD asks, He will provide.

Jehovah Raah - the Lord our shepherd. The 23 Psalm can teach us a lot about God. He leads us, He doesn't drive us or heard us like cattle. We can know His voice. Jesus used the wonderful language of the shepherd in John 10. The shepherd protects His sheep, fighting off evil. One person in my group had the visual of Jesus with a light saber.

Jehovah Rapha - the Lord our Healer. In Jeremiah 30:17 the Lord promises to heal His people. People who had rejected Him and gone their own way, people who did not listen to His warnings, people who were called rejected by those around them. Jesus healed many while on earth, not just physically. He healed spirits and hearts and minds. No matter what the cause of our pain, the Lord with heal.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

El Shaddai and El Elyon: Almighty God and Most High God

These two names for God show different facets of God's power. El Shaddai is used a lot sorrounding God's promises, especially the promise of descendants to Abraham and Jacob. I would imagine that by the time Jacob heard the promise of nations he would have been a bit cynical, there had only been two sons born to his father and only two born to Abraham. Then God reveals Himself as the Almighty God. Almighty, able to fulfill the promise.

Almighty is also used a lot in Job, describing how God is Almighty when He provides and also Almighty when He takes away.

El Elyon is used talking about God's power and dominion and soveringty. Nebuchadnezzar spoke of the Most High when his senses returned to him and he finally understood God's rule over the heavens and the earth.

El Shaddai and El Elyon - God not only has the power to fulfill His promises, and the soveringty and dominion to see it done. The God who protects His people and destroys His enimies, who is just and righteous in His judgement. Who gives rest in His shadow.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Knowing for Sure

I love it in Calgary. Ben loves it in Calgary. The decision to come here was made after a lot of prayer and a lot of confirmation. There were a lot of doors that opened and a lot of things that made it a little eaier. Otherwise, we would not have been able to come here at all.

Now things are getting a little tougher. We want to be able to save up to get a house, but in order to do that we need money. We're ok with making sacrifices, but it's hard. Honestly, I don't know how it is going to work out.

Now don't think that I am regretting coming here, not at all, because I know...well, I knew, that God wanted us here. Now it's just having to trust that He still wants us here and that He will provide.

Nothing is too difficult for my God, but I still find myself trying to find the answers on my own, trying to make it work myself. I'm not so good at it.

I know God will take care of us, it's just one of those hard times right now. We'd appriciate your prayer

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Elohim - Creator God

The first name used for God in the Bible is Elohim (Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth")

Its interesting, Elohim is word used to talk about many gods, such as the gods of the other nations, but in reference to the Creator, it is always used as a singular (Elohim and He appearing together, instead of They, which would be more gramatically correct). Deuteronomy 6:4 says "the Lord your Elohim (plural) is one".

Elohim is used mostly to speak of God's creative power or to speak about God in reference to creation (such as the earth trembling before Him). Elohim is the name used in Jeremiah 32:27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the Elohim of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" - understanding Elohim as describing the creative power of God, this verse takes on new meaning "I am the Lord who created everything, is anything too difficult for Me?"

To know God as Elohim is to know Him as creator, as able to make, remake, sustain and control. It is to understand that He has created the world with a purpose (Isaiah 45:18) and to realize that we are part of that purpose, and that as His creation we too have a purpose. To see God as Elohim is to be swept up in the realization that the God who created all the world, before whom creation trembles is our Elohim, cares for us, looks after us, is with us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Name of the Lord

Over the next few weeks I'm doing a study with my home group about the name of the Lord. It amazes me how the Lord has revealed so much of Himself through His names, and it saddens me that so often we ignore the importance of His names.

He is Father, Lord of Armies, the God who Provides
He is Peace, He is Shepherd, He is the Lord our Sanctifier

Knowing who God is, knowing the roles He fills in our lives is vital. Knowing that He is the Lord who sanctifies takes the pressure off of us, takes away the sense that we somehow make ourselves holy before Him.

I think it's sad that the names of od, the names describing who He is, are not used by many Christians, at least most Christians I know. I think we miss out on truly knowing God personally because we do not know His name, the most personal thing about Him.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Examining cynicism

My friend Dave is wondering about the cynics that seem to be taking over his youth. I offered some opinion on the subject, then he asked something along the lines of how to show that love is genuine and not driven by numbers.

In Christianity, especially with those who lead Christian groups, there is an emphasis on numbers - numbers mean people are coming, mean the ministry is working, mean things are getting done. They are a measure of success. It's even Biblical, in Acts and elsewhere numbers are mentioned.

But I'm not convinced that numbers are the only (or best) way to measure success. I mean, there could be 100 people at an event, but 50 of them could be there trying to hook up (especially speaking in the youth context), another 20 could be there to get away from their parents, 10 could have been made to go by their parents, leaving about 20 who actually want to be there. Yes, all of them will have the opportunity to "get saved" at the event, but is that really how success should be measured?

It goes to motivation - is the purpose of what is happening to "get people saved" (i.e. to get emotional, say a prayer, and not know where to go from there), or to bring people into a relationship with Christ (it is different, trust me). With too narrow of a plan, with too narrow of a focus, the measure of success would be how many people came to the alter, and to increase the odds of how many people do that, increase how many people come - success is numbers.

If the purpose is to see people move from not loving God to loving Him, then how many people go to the alter doesn't matter so much, because maybe only 5 took that step, but another 50 listened and didn't ignore the whole thing, didn't walk out when they had the chance, and might have changed their mind about this whole God thing.

Problem is, things like that are hard to measure....In fact, without knowing the person, there is no way of knowing if any change happened at all, so numbers themselves become useless.

I think the way to show people that we do not have an agenda is to not have an agenda. Have a purpose, but have the same purpose with everyone we come into contact with - helping them get closer to God, no matter where they may be at the moment. That is how we should love people, how we should love anyone. That will keep people from becoming lost and ignored once they "get saved", that will show people we really care about them, no matter what they do, think, say, or believe.

Loving people this way forces us to know them, to care about them, to want to help them. It takes away the pressure for them to do something, thus taking away the sense that we are manipulating or waiting for a certain reaction in order to accept them.

This may not cure cynicism, but it will take away the reason for it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Amusement Park Spirituality

I took some children to an amusement park recently. It was a lot of fun, and I made an observation. People are willing to spend money, wait a long time in line, and all for a brief reward.

Basically, people give up personal rights (you have to stand in line, not go anywhere else) without hesitation for a brief enjoyment, knowing that the enjoyment will be brief.

But you ask someone to give up a little bit of money to help someone else, and they have a hard time. Or tell someone that they can't do such and such and they make a big deal about personal rights.

Taken to God, this means that people will not give up personal rights (like sinning) in order to gain an ultimate return (life with God).

So why not? Why are we so concerned about out own personal rights when it comes to our relationship with God? Why do we hold on to meaningless things and forfit the awesome amazing things that God has for us?

I want to spend my life on a ride, I want to enjoy every moment of it, hold nothing back....but from experience that is easier said than done.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Opposite Emtions

I was reading Isaiah today, where the prophet is speaking to thecity of Jerusalem, lamenting that when God has told them to weep and mourn because of their coming destruction, they are instead celebrating.

Do we do the same thing?

There are millions of people on the earth dying, starving, being killed, being abused, depressed, and any number of other things, and yet most of the time, we pay no attention to that fact. there are people who suffer daily, do we really understand this?

I personally try not to think too much about it because I can't handle it, I know I can't fix the problem, so I pretend it is not there. Somehow I think that is not the right way to deal with it.

On the other side, we can't focus on that stuff too much, because we also need the freedom and ability to celebrate all that God has done and is doing in the world. We need to rejoyce and dance and laugh and play and explore the riches of God's great love and kindness for us.

can we do both?

"for everything there is a season" - I think that's the key.

We need the bitter to understand the sweet, and to celebrate the good to fully apriciate the bad. The balance lies somewhere between the two. Acknowledging the direction the world is heading in while at the same time celebrating the work of God within the world.