Tag Archives: Moses

27. Jesus the Servant

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So the last time we left Jesus, the Pharisees were plotting to kill him because he had healed, once again, on the Sabbath. Because of this Jesus was quick to get out of Dodge. Not because he didn’t want to die, but because it wasn’t time for him to die yet. After he left he was followed by a large crowd and Jesus healed everyone who was ill. Not just some, the text actually says all. This account is also found in Mark but we will be reading the account found in Matthew because it includes a bit of Messianic prophesy that is worth checking out:

Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.”

(Matthew 12:15-21)

I specifically want to look at the bit of prophesy that is given to us. It comes from Isaiah 42:1-4. This particular passage is about someone God calls, “my servant”. This title, “my servant” is a special title of honor that was used to describe the likes of Moses, Joshua and David. It was also used in Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-7;50:4-11; and 52:13-53:12. Now Israelites always assumed that they were the servant described but because of their wayward actions and blatant refusal to follow God and instead turn towards idols, they lost this honor of being God’s servants. Instead, these verses describe one person in whom God would find no fault- a perfect prototype of what a follower of God should look like. They are describing the Messiah, himself! The reason that Matthew, whose readership was mostly Jewish, often includes prophesy about the Messiah is to show them how Jesus is the 100% fulfillment of these prophesies. In other words, they didn’t have to keep looking for the promised Messiah because he was here as evidenced by their own Scriptures.

There are three times when Jesus is described by God as, “the one I love, in whom I delight.” The two other times occurred at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:17) and at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5).

Here’s a little rabbit trail for us to go down. No where in the Bible does it explicitly say that God is triune, or 3-in-1. This is a concept that was presented by early church fathers. One of the verses they use to support this idea (which for the record, I believe in) is verse 18 from our passage today, ” I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” Here we see the Father conferring the Holy Spirit on the Son. 3-in-1. Three persons of God, in one deity; somehow each unique, yet joined together.

Verse 18, and also 21, is interesting because God is clearly concerned about “the nations”. He is concerned about all peoples, not just the nation of Israel. He came to them first because he wanted them to be his people of promise but because they rejected him time and time again, he opened salvation to the world. This was a foreign idea to the Jews even though it was right there in Scripture. It’s like they picked and chose which descriptions of the Messiah they liked and conveniently forgot about the parts they didn’t. God clearly cares for Gentiles, or non-Jews… which is very good news for me!

The next part, “He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets,” refers to his silence during his trial before the crucifixion. Jesus remained silent despite his accusers and their false accusations, despite the fact that he could have said one word and thousands of angels would have been there in an instant to rescue him. He was silent except for a few answers to questions.

Verse 20 is one of great mercy and grace,

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory.”

One of the things the Pharisees never got was Jesus’ unending grace toward sinners. We can learn a lot from Jesus here. His job until he returns is to be gentle and love the sinner. I think here of the Westboro Baptist church. These people are not doing God’s work. God’s work, until Jesus returns, is to love on people. That doesn’t mean we overlook the sin. What Jesus did was look beyond the sin and saw the hurting person underneath. Hurting people are like a reed that is already bent from life’s windstorms or a candle struggling to stay lit. In mercy Jesus sat with these people, took the time to hear and really understand these people. And when I say “these people” what I really mean is you and me. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It doesn’t matter if we’ve wrongly gotten angry or if we’ve killed someone. We deserve a traitor’s death. We are no better or worse than anyone else and to assume otherwise is to fall into the trap of self-righteousness. Thank God, for his mercy and love! Thank God, for his patience with us! This is how he deals with us and this is how we are to deal with each other. Now there is a time when Jesus will come again and reign victorious over Satan and Evil. At that point it will be Jesus’ job to dole out justice to non-belivers and believers alike. It is never our job. It is never our responsibility to judge others. Period.

I’ll step down off my soap box for now. Until next time when we look at the commissioning of the the twelve apostles…

The End.

24. The Healing of the Man at Bethesda- part 3

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And so we reach the last part of this passage. If you remember the first part focused on the healing of the man, himself. The second part had to do with the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus because he said he was God. And now this final installment reads like a courtroom transcript; Jesus is giving defense testimony as to why people should believe he is who he says he is. Let’s read together:

 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

“You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept glory from human beings, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

“But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:31-47)

Back in Jesus’ day the testimony of two people were needed to corroborate a story in a court of law. Jesus starts off by saying, “Look, I get it if you don’t want to take my own word that I’m the Son of God, but let’s look at 5 other sources of testimony that testifies to the fact.”

  1. His Father. I’ll admit that when Jesus says, “There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true,” (verse 32) I thought he was talking about John the Baptizer. However, the word “another” in Greek is the word allos which means “another of the same kind” so we can assume that Jesus is talking about God, the Father. If he were talking about a human the word would probably be heteros which means “another of a different kind.” He says more about the Father’s testimony in verses 37 and 38, “And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.” I’m not sure but he could be referring to the time he was baptized and the Spirit descended and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” (Matthew 3:17). He is also probably referring to all the prophesy that had been written about him.
  2. John the Baptizer. If they wanted a human’s word, then they had to look no farther than John the Baptizer. He was born to prepare the hearts of the people for the Son of God (Luke 1:16-17). And this was to fulfill prophesy about one who would come before the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3). For a while they didn’t have a problem with John. In fact, the Bible says, “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light,” (verse 35). My guess is because John followed the Pharisaical laws and was preaching a coming Messiah like any good Jew should. As long as he was preaching about a Messiah that fit their mold and not Jesus, they were fine with him.
  3. Jesus’ own works. So I get that they won’t take his own testimony but what about all the good stuff he was doing? He was healing the sick, the blind, the deaf and the dumb. He was casting out demons and teaching the Word of God. He wasn’t just talking the talk, he was walking the walk. His life was exemplary and without sin. He says in verse 36, ” For the works that the Father has given me to finish- the very works that I am doing- testify that the Father has sent me.”
  4. Scripture. One of the most convincing pieces of evidence for me that Jesus is who he says he is is all the prophesies he fulfilled. Scripture, time and time again, points toward Jesus- who he was to be, the things that he would do, where he was to be from, how he was to die… Jesus tells the Pharisees, “Look, you say you know the Scriptures so well, if this is true then why don’t you get what it is saying about me?”
  5. Moses. I love how he wraps up his defense. The Pharisees held Moses in very high regard. He was their acting Savior from Egypt, he talked directly with God, he was the recipient of the ten commandments, etc. etc. etc. They were so concerned with Moses and the law, they were so wrapped up in the rules and regulations that they missed the Messiah. Moses himself prophesied about the Jesus in Deuteronomy 18:15-22. You would think that since they were so wrapped up in Moses that they would’ve known about this passage. They were too busy maintaining the rules that they missed the Ruler. If they want to trust in the law, then the law will be their judge. He will allow the Pharisees to condemn themselves by the law because the law points to Jesus. If they miss that part of the law, then by that part they will be judged.

All the testimony boils down to this: You can know about Jesus. You can know a lot about Jesus, actually. You can even be an expert- but if you don’t know Jesus personally you don’t know squat. Jesus tells the Pharisees in verse 38, “nor does his word dwell in you.” The word “dwell” has an underlying meaning of abiding or implying an intimate relationship with. Think about it: Satan knows a lot about Jesus but will never have a loving relationship with him. What is the status of your knowledge about God today? Do you know Jesus as the Lord of your life? or Do you rest in the facts that you know about him? Back when I was younger, I loved New Kids on the Block. I knew their birthdays, where they were from, what color their eyes were, and what was their favorite things to do. With as much as I learned about them I never knew them and they never knew me. Knowing all those facts made me feel closer to them, but the fact of the matter is that I never once hung out with them or talked to them on the phone. I was even a president of their fan club and that status didn’t get me anywhere either. So I ask you again, Do you know Jesus as the Lord of your life? or Do you rest in the the facts that you know about him?

The End.

8. A Super Secret Midnight Meeting

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Ok, so I don’t know if it was at midnight but it was a super secret meeting; A night time theological rendezvous of sorts between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Let’s look at the text from John 3:1-21:

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  that everyone who believesmay have eternal life in him.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

You may have already guessed it but this is where we get the term “born again Christian.” But what does that mean exactly? What is a Pharisee? Why did Nicodemus come by cover of night? We will explore these questions and possibly some more as we dive into the Word.

Let’s talk about Nicodemus for a minute. John says that Nicodemus was “a Pharisee…  a member of the Jewish ruling council,” (v.1). The Jewish ruling council was called the Sanhedrin. It was kinda like our Congress or Senate in that it was made up of a bunch of people, then men, that made laws. They also were in charge of enforcing laws and had their own police force. The Pharisees were kinda like a political party, like our Democrats and Republicans. The Pharisees were one of three or four (depending on how you qualify major) major parties of the day. The Pharisees were known for strictly keeping the laws of Moses and other oral traditions that were supposedly passed down from Moses. This is not a bad thing in and of itself. God, himself, demands that we adhere to the law but the Pharisees took it too far. They made ridiculous rules that made it almost impossible for the common person to follow. In fact the name Pharisee means “set apart” and that is what the Pharisees did. They set themselves apart from the common people by making it difficult for them to be “ceremonially clean” or righteous in God’s eyes. The put a “fence around the Torah” in that they set up laws meant to keep you from breaking God’s laws. For example, God’s word says not to work on the Sabbath. They Pharisees made a law that stated you couldn’t even touch something that could be used for work on the Sabbath. God’s law doesn’t say that and Jesus took issue with them because of it. Pharisees also had a problem with Jesus because he was showing them up with his knowledge of the Scripture and with his miracles. Instead of seeing him as the Son of God and embracing him as such, they viewed him as a threat.

Let’s get back to Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee but this passage suggests that he was genuinely curious about Jesus. Now if you notice Nicodemus came at night. Night time back then is different than the night time of today in that night time back then was pitch black- it was great for sneaking around in. There was no light pollution from the next street over that would have given a little light. The fact that Nicodemus comes at night brings up two points. 1- he was probably not willing to be publicly associated with Jesus and 2- his desire to know more about Jesus was greater than his fear of the dark. Remember, we are talking about pitch black conditions, there could have been wild animals out there or any kind of bad guy out there. Once the sun went down back then, most people stayed indoors because it was dangerous to venture out.

There are a couple things I find interesting about this story. First of these is that Nicodemus calls Jesus “Rabbi”, or teacher. This is a sign of respect and obviously Nicodemus sees Jesus a little differently then your run of the mill Pharisee. Second, Nicodemus acknowledges that the Pharisees recognize that Jesus is from God, even if they don’t believe that he is God yet they still conspire against him! What is that all about?!?  In a way I can sympathize with the Pharisees in that they were dealing with something brand new in Jesus. Never before had they experienced the Son of God. We often take for granted concepts that were new and innovative back then. On the other hand they had him in the flesh; they saw his life and his miracles and his teachings, they were eye witnesses and still didn’t get it. And yet that happens all the time these days. I would be willing to bet that many people are willing to agree that Jesus probably came from God but still don’t care about what he says.

Jesus tells Nicodemus that, “no one can see the kingdom of god unless they are born again,” (v. 3). Nicodemus is clearly confused, his mind is only focusing on what he knows, which is physical birth. He’s not thinking about a spiritual rebirth because, remember, this is a new concept to him. He doesn’t even know what spiritual rebirth is… yet. Jesus goes on to explain yes, there is only one physical birth. This is probably what he means when he says, “born of water,” referring to a woman’s water breaking before giving birth although it could mean baptism. I think it means the former though and he is showing a contrast between the two kinds of births. But there is also another kind of birth that happens when the Holy Spirit is born in your soul. This is what he is talking about when he says “born again.” We all have experienced the physical birth, but not everyone will experience the birth of the Holy Spirit. Only those who experience this second birth, “can enter the kingdom of God.”

Then Jesus gives a little lesson on why some people are reborn and some are not:

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (v. 8)

I think Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit already knows who will respond to the Gospel and that is who it enters. And though you can’t physically see the Holy Spirit, you can see the effects of the Spirt. These are evidenced in what are known as the Fruits of the Spirit. A Spirit filled person will be full of, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,” (Galatians 5:22-23). You can see the effects of these things. This is how you can “see” the Spirit.

Nicodemus still doesn’t understand and asks, “How can this be?”

I used to think that Jesus was angry when he replied to Nicodemus, but now I think there is pity and disappointment in his voice when he says, “You are Israel’s teacher and do you not understand these things?” Remember Nicodemus is a Pharisee; they were highly educated teachers of the law and yet they just don’t get it. Jesus goes on and says (in my own words), “You’ve seen and heard eye witness testimony to the miracles and teaching that my disciples and me are doing and yet you don’t believe it. If you can’t believe what you eyes have seen and your ears have heard, then how do you expect to believe the stuff you can’t see and hear with your own eyes and ears? Because you don’t believe what I have said, I will be hung up on a cross to die and everyone who believes that I died for their sins will have eternal life.” Now again, that is my own interpretation of what Jesus says to Nicodemus but I think it is pretty accurate.

Then Jesus goes into that famous verse that almost everyone knows; God loves people so much that he sent his one and only Son to earth, so that whoever believes in him won’t spend an eternity in hell, but will spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. God didn’t send Jesus to earth to send everyone to hell but to save everyone from hell. He did this because everyone who doesn’t believe in him is going to Hell without trying. This is the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus!

So what happened to Nicodemus? Well, we can assume that at some point he was reborn because after Jesus was killed, Nicodemus helped to bury the body of Jesus. This would’ve been a big deal to Nicodemus because it would have made him “ceremonially unclean” or unrighteous in the eyes of his fellow Pharisees. Remember, they prided themselves on being meticulous law keepers. We can assume then that at the very least Nicodemus was deeply moved by the teaching of Christ if not a believer at that point.

What does all this mean for us? I will admit that there have been times when I have come to Jesus undercover of night, afraid of what other people might say if they knew I was a Christian. What kind of faith is that? If I am being honest with myself it’s not a very good kind of faith. This is at best one step away from disowning Jesus of which Jesus has to say this, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” It is time to be bold for Jesus. You can do this without shoving Jesus down non-believers throats. It’s offering to pray (and then actually praying) for your friends and family. It’s being excited about the things you are doing that grow your faith and then telling people about it when they ask what you are up to. For example, when your neighbor asks how things are going, let them catch your excitement for Bible Study, participating in your church, etc. Why would they want to be involved in something that you yourself are not excited about. It’s being willing to share your faith stories when they happen. It’s being willing to say, “God healed my mom’s cancer” or “God took my mom home, and I will praise him anyway.” It’s praying for these people on a regular basis for an opportunity to share the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus loves them, that he died for them, that he rose again from the dead for them and that he want to forgive their sins and live forever with them. How will they hear if we don’t tell them? Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did for Nicodemus? All he did was tell him the truth the rest was up to Nicodemus.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for being willing to speak to us even when we come to you by cover of night. Thank you for your power to change lives. Thank you for dying for loving us even to the point of death on a cross. Help us to be brave, even when we are afraid, so that we can tell a world bound for hell about the eternal life you provide. I pray that you begin to soften the hearts of those we see everyday and start to prompt them to speak with us about their questions. Give us the answers to help them know you, Lord. In Jesus’ powerful name we pray, Amen!

P.S. Because this was a longer study today, I will give you a couple of days to digest before I post again. Look for me again on Tuesday,

The End.

Revelation Song- Devo 3

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Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King,

We already looked at the first verse and chorus of this song in Revelation Song- Devo and in Devo 2. In them we discussed a lot of heavy stuff found in the book of Revelation. This one should be a little lighter because the references in the rest of the song aren’t directly related to Revelation. In fact the first part is from another vision of the end times found in the book of Ezekiel.

Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:25-28)

Can you imagine seeing the Lord with your own eyes and then having the responsibility to describe it for posterity? What an impossible task! And yet that is exactly what Ezekiel tries to do. Think about the dreariness of  a dark, rainy day and the beauty and brightness of a rainbow in the midst of the storm. This is how Ezekiel explains the sight of God. It is so terrifying, amazing, awe-inspiring, (insert your own word here) that he literally can not bear the sight and falls on his face. What a glorious sight that must have been to see God, himself!

And speaking of rainbows and stuff in the sky, what does “flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder” refer to. We have all witnessed the power of a thunderstorm. They can be magnificent and terrifying all at once. And so it is with God. I can’t even to imagine what it will be like the day I get to view him with my own eyes! The splendor, the glory, the holiness and the sheer terror of it all! I imagine it will be too much for me to bear and me hiding my eyes from the magnitude of it all like Ezekiel. The power of God is also often described with thunder and lightening. It is a synonymous with his presence, power and glory. For example when God met Moses on the top of Sinai, there was thunder and lightening covering the mountain (Exodus 19:16; 20:18). I don’t know about you but I tend to think about God’s presence as calming and reassuring, not powerful and scary. Yet, think about what it would be like to meet someone here on earth that you admire. You would probably be nervous at the very least and maybe even scared. Now, imagine your imperfect, guilty, sinful self in front of a powerful, perfect, almighty judge. Does it make your knees knock? It should. It’s called having fear of the Lord. It’s knowing God has the power to zap you to Hell if he wanted but he chooses to pardon you. It’s a fear that does not come from being afraid, it’s a kind of respect that comes from acknowledging the holiness of God.

If God truly is as magnificent as the writer of Revelation describes, it is no wonder that we today sing, “Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be to you  the only Wise King!” I wish we spent more time focusing on the glory of God instead of our own lives. How much more fulfilled would our lives be we if viewed our existence through God-colored glasses that showed us his pure glory? Instead I find myself taking off the glasses and getting distracted by the little things of life. These little things steal the joy I should be finding in Christ. I am reading a book by John Piper called “Desiring God.” In it he describes man’s purpose as this, “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” He is right on! We were created to glorify God by enjoying God. I love what The Message says of 1 Chronicles 16:23-27:

Sing to God, everyone and everything!
Get out his salvation news every day!
Publish his glory among the godless nations,
his wonders to all races and religions.
And why? Because God is great—well worth praising!
No god or goddess comes close in honor.
All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense,
but God made the cosmos!
Splendor and majesty flow out of him,
strength and joy fill his place.

Read this twice- once with joy and exuberance, and once with no feeling. Which do you think is the emotion meant to be behind it? One of joy or no emotion at all? Of course, it is meant to be joyful! This doesn’t mean we have to be happy all the time. Joy is something deeper that goes beyond just mere feeling. It is a deep state of being. It is having on those God-colored glasses and viewing life how he sees it instead of how we see it. It is enjoying God for who he is and not just what he has done for us. It is choosing to praise God regardless of the junk of life because, “God is great– well worth praising!” I was thinking about it tonight as I was driving: Even if God didn’t save us he would still be worthy of praise, even if God didn’t love us he would still be worthy of praise. Why? Because he is Good, Holy, Perfect, Awesome, Power… the list goes on and on. He is all of these things despite the stuff he does for us. Of course that stuff he does is pretty awesome and deserving of praise also. How much more should we long to joyfully praise God because of our salvation! And it shouldn’t be just reserved for Sunday mornings either! We can praise God through serving others, through sharing our salvation stories, through loving others, basically anything we do to reflect his glory is a way of praising God. We miss out so much in our relationship with Christ because we fail to long for the joy we can experience in Him. Instead we find joy in things that don’t last… the latest singers, clothes, friends, books, food, music, etc. We trade ultimate joy for shadows of joy. We trade God for idols.

What do you find joy in? How do you express that joy? When you find a new pair of shoes that you just love, you show them off and tell others about them. When was the last time you got that excited about God? When was the last time you were so joyful about him that you just had to share him with someone else? Take time to explore the beauty of God, not because of what he has done for us, but because of who he is! Take time to rediscover God! Read Psalm 19 and reflect on the glory of God!

Psalm 19

God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.

Their words aren’t heard,
their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

 God makes a huge dome
for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.

That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.

The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.

God’s Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You’ll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.

There’s more: God’s Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

The End.

Your Great Name Devo

Standard

Lost are saved; find their way;

at the sound of your great name

All condemned; feel no shame,

at the sound of your great name

Every fear; has no place;

at the sound of your great name

The enemy; he has to leave;

at the sound of your great name

Jesus, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us,

Son of God and ManYou are high and lifted up;

and all the world will praise your great name

Redeemer, My Healer, Lord Almighty

My savior, Defender, You are My King!

Most everyone calls me Geanna but the people that are closest to me have special names for me. My kids call me Mommy and my husband gets to call me Honey. In fact a lot of people are known by several names or nicknames and these names mean different things to different people. For example, when my kids call me Mommy, I hope they associate me with a loving authority figure. When my husband calls me Honey I hope he associates me with a loving spouse. So my question is what do we associate with the name of God? Is it just a word we use when we swear? Or is there something more in the name of God? Is there really power in just the sound of his name?

There are actually lots of names for God in the Bible and maybe someday I will do a series explaining some of them. There are just too many to do here right now but they are beautiful and each describes an attribute of God. But the one I want to begin with is the one that I believe is at the root of all the others. Let’s look at the Bible passage first. The context of this passage is as follows: The Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. God tells Moses to go to Egypt and demand that the Pharaoh set them free. Moses is afraid and starts making excuses like, “I don’t even know your name. What if the ask me your name?”. I think you are caught up now so let’s jump back into the text:

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘I Am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation.

I am. Really? That’s the big, fancy name of God? I’ve got to be kidding you, right? Nope. That’s it. I even checked my Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon and that is the correct translation. Sounds simple, right? But think about it some more. I am. That’s actually quite significant. One way to take it is that God is always in a present state of being. He always is in a state of is. Not was, not will be, but is. I’m about to get a little trippy with this next explanation but I’ll try to be as clear as I can. Back in my college theology classes I remember a discussion that kinda blew my mind. It was about how God is outside of time. We can never fully understand God because we are bound by time- minutes, seconds, hours, days… you get the idea. But God created time when he created the sun and the moon (bear with me you non literal Creation believers). “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day,” (Genesis 1:3-5) Day is a measurement of time, God created day, therefore God created time. But God “is” before time. In fact he always “is”. In once sense he never was or will be because he just always is. Crazy, I know. It makes my brain hurt too. Talk about time travel- He is now, just as he is yesterday, just as he is tomorrow.

Another way to think about it is that maybe there just isn’t a human word perfect enough to be used for God’s name. We can describe him with words like, Redeemer, my Healer, Lord Almighty, My Savior, Defender, my King… the list goes on but aren’t these just human ways to describe an indescribable God?

But I still didn’t answer the question- Is there power in the name of God? In John 17:11b-12a Jesus prays, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.” There is further evidence of power in the name of God found in Acts 4:5-10. Peter healed a lame man and the Pharisees didn’t like it one bit so they took Peter and John into custody…

The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there,

and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family.

They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!

If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,

then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

I just want to add a Hallelujah! to the end of that. Preach, preacher! Yes, there is great power in the name of God and in his son, Jesus. There is healing power, there is protective power, and there is saving power, too! “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Joel 2:32 & Acts 2:21). Have you called on the name of the Lord? Is he your Healer, Protector, and Savior? If not, won’t you please consider it?

I could go on forever if I were to keep picking apart this song. For example, the line that says, “All condemned, feel no shame” Well, that’s a whole post in and of itself. I know I have a lot to be ashamed for in my life but through Jesus, my shame has been taken away. You can read about it here. But for now this is…

The End.