Anchored to Hope

While HOPE is one of my favorite topics to blog about, I have chosen to emphasize it today in honor of a dear friend of mine, Judy, who went to be with Jesus a year ago in April. June 17 was her birthday on earth, and while she is celebrating that day in heaven now, I want to honor her with the following insights regarding HOPE. She anchored her faith to hope throughout her illness. The anchor with a yellow ribbon pictured above, was given to each of us at her celebration of life service. I still cling to this anchor pin as well as to the spiritual promises of hope.

In the bigger picture, the view from which Judy now experiences it, hope is the eternal full manifestation of eternity with God. Our eternal hope is promised in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” But in the meantime, we walk by faith and not by sight because according to Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

My Reader, what comes to your mind when you hear the word HOPE? Do you perceive hope as a fluffy, flimsy desire floating through your mind or do you picture hope as an anchor uniting with faith in your heart? We often have trouble describing hope because it is invisible. There is an anonymous quote that says, “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” A scriptural definition of hope is found in Romans 8:24-25, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Although HOPE is invisible, I want us to envision the anchor as a picturesque image of hope.
Hebrews 6:19 states, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Sarah Young says in Jesus Calling, “A good way to remain anchored to Jesus is to whisper His name as often as needed. We can pray and proclaim “Jesus, You are my HOPE!’”

With this in mind, I have created an acronym for HOPE that elaborates upon four descriptions of the Lord that will help us understand why He is the One in whom we must put our hope and trust.

H.O.P.E.

H = Helper – Zechariah 4:6
John 14:26 NASV says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” In this verse, Holy Spirit comes from the Latin term paraclete that means advocate or helper. II Corinthians 5:7 tells us to walk by faith and not by sight, but as human beings this is hard for us to do. We tend to want to follow what we see and what we know in our heads, so we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help us secure HOPE deep in our hearts.
In Zechariah 4:6, the Lord Almighty declares that victory is attained “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.” So, with this assurance, we can assume that Helper is an accurate word for the letter H in our acronym for HOPE. Only as the Holy Spirit helps us, can we grasp the assurance of hope.

O = Omniscient – Isaiah 55:8-9
Omniscience is defined as “the state of having total knowledge, the quality of knowing everything.” Although God is beyond our full understanding, He is omniscient. He is sovereign and knows all about all His creation. We serve a God who thinks about our lives, our world, and Yis creation on a completely different level than even the smartest human being can think. Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.”
With this in mind, I have chosen Isaiah 55:8-9 as our scripture to describe how the omniscience of God is appropriate for the letter O in our acronym for HOPE. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

P = Perfect – Jeremiah 29:11
Psalm 18:30 begins by saying, “As for God, His way is perfectand Deuteronomy 32:4 declares,His works are perfect.” God is the only one who is perfect, being without sin or weakness. As I looked for a definition of perfect I read such phrases as “complete and right in every way; having nothing wrong” – “exactly right for a particular purpose or situation” – “being entirely without fault or defect.” I also think of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy that describes the Lord as being “perfect in power, love, and purity.” God is the only one who is perfect!
When I want a reason to have hope in God, perfection is a good choice of words to use for the letter P in the acronym for HOPE. Jeremiah 29:11 supports this by stating, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

E = Emmanuel – Deuteronomy 31:8
When the angel announces that Mary will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit and have a son, it is declared in Matthew 1:23 that they shall call His name Emmanuel which is translated “God with us.” This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. In Genesis 28:15 the Lord says, “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” Not only does He promise to be with us but He also promises to watch over us! So, if God is with us, we can rely upon His help because of what we previously said about the Holy Spirit being our Helper. And, we can trust His help because God is omniscient and perfect, also based on previous statements.
T
he choice of Emmanuel as an applicable word for the letter E of our acronym for HOPE is supported by the scripture found in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” It has been said that “Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”

The anchor of HOPE prevented death from having a hold on Judy. I desire the anchor of hope to prevent hopelessness from having a hold on me. To us, our situation may look hopeless, but according to Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” I like the New Living Translation of Hebrews 11:1 that says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” These are the words upon which I desire to anchor my heart to God’s heart.

I want to conclude by extending to all of you the message of Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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A Fragile Word

All was quiet around me. I was in bed but not asleep. My mind was still drifting over thoughts of the evening’s experiences of the retreat I was attending. Then my spiritual ears heard the following words from the Lord. “I have entrusted My child, Adam, to you. He is fragile. Just love him. I am working. Walk with Me.” I felt like I was the boy Samuel fulfilling Eli’s instructions of I Samuel 3:9,”Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” I was listening! In what I share in the following paragraphs, I have changed the name of this individual to Adam representing the first human being God created. Adam can be any one of us. I am not referring to a male or female person, but I have chosen to use the masculine pronoun. Although this was a very personal word, I think many of my readers will be able to insert the name of their own Adam into these brief statements. My Reader, search your life and see if you are called to apply these statements to a special someone in your life as I expand upon the insights I discovered.

fragile-birdsI have entrusted My child, Adam, to you.

The first word that caught my attention was entrusted. It was humbling to think that God was investing me with responsibility for someone’s life. Then I remembered Paul’s words in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” I praised the Lord that He desired me to partner with Him for the fulfillment of His plans and purposes for this individual.

fragile-roseHe is fragile.

Since the Lord chose “fragile” to describe this particular child that belonged to Him, I pondered the meaning of the word. Two characteristics came to mind: vulnerability and the ability to be broken.

If a person is vulnerable, he is susceptible to being wounded physically, emotionally and spiritually. There is most likely a weakness within the character and personality of this person. I want Adam to know that according to II Corinthians 12:9 the Lord says to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” My husband and I often watch Antique Roadshow on TV. There is a commercial of an active boy running back and forth in front of a table where an expensive vase is placed. Hands come and grasp the vase to keep it from falling and being broken. To me, this depicts the vulnerability of the object to be broken. I apply this to Adam. Paul says in II Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” As I think about a person being breakable, I sense both the negative and the positive possibilities. When something is broken, its original condition is lost. The specific vase in the TV commercial could never have been replaced if it had broken. However, when thinking about a person being broken, it can be a good thing. The Lord is able to take the vulnerability and weakness of a person and repair him to be better than he was previously. David says in Psalm 34:18 NLT, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Also Psalm 51:17 NLT says, “You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”

loveJust love him.

When I first heard the Lord’s words regarding Adam’s life, I was overwhelmed. However, then the Lord gave me guidance as to what He wanted me to do. Love is a simple four letter word but it not necessarily an easy task to fulfill. I turn to the love chapter of the Bible for guidance. I highlight words from I Corinthians 13:4, 7,8, and 13, “Love is patient, love is kind….It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I am particularly assured and strengthened by the fact that love never fails. I have heard it said that love is wanting what is best for the other person. Yes Lord, help me love my Adam!

handI am working.

The Lord has entrusted me with a responsibility for this Adam but I am not alone. God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” For me, I AM is one of the greatest names of God. In my particular present situation, I AM is working with me. I rely upon Psalm 147:3 that says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God is doing the work – not me. All God asks of me is to love my Adam. I can say to Adam the same words Moses spoke to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.”

footprints-in-sandWalk with Me.

The the last words the Lord spoke to me that evening were words for my personal guidance. I was assured of His presence and help as I accepted the call He spoke to me. With the writer of Psalm 86:11 NKJV I say, “Teach me your ways, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to Your name.” May I fulfill the directive of Galatians 5:16, “Walk by the Spirit.”

I have embraced the words God spoke into my spirit that evening. I am now in the process of partnering with the Lord for His work in Adam’s fragile life. As God entrusts me to walk along side Adam, I strive to “Trust in the LORD with all my heart And do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, And He will make my paths straight.” according to Proverbs 3:5-6. (italics are pronouns personalized by author)

My Reader, do you sense the Lord calling you to love someone who is fragile? Remember, the Lord will walk with you wherever He leads you.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Living in the Land of In-Between

 

between

The story of the Israelites being led out of Egypt into the Promised Land of Canaan is recorded in the books of Exodus, Numbers and Joshua. The accounts tell of a 40 year journey that should have taken only 11 days. Where were the Israelites during these 40 years? They were wandering and waiting in the wilderness. They were in the Land of In-Between. They were between Egypt and Canaan. What happened in the lives of the Israelites between Egypt and the Promised Land?

What took place for the Israelites back in 1436 BC still has significance for us in 2016 AD. I believe the experiences of God’s chosen people 1400 years before Christ was born were a foreshadow of what we will encounter over 2000 years since Christ was born. We live in the shadow of the Israelites and I want to learn from their experiences on both the physical and spiritual levels. Let’s look at some details.

The Israelites were in slavery and bondage in the physical land of Egypt. From the spiritual perspective, Egypt is often considered a symbol of sin. As human beings we are born into the bondage of our sinful human nature. Moses was sent to deliver God’s people out of Egypt and lead them into the Promised Land of freedom. God sent His Son, Jesus, to deliver us from sin. When we accept Jesus as our Savior (He saves us from sin) and Lord (He rules our lives and guides us in the freedom He purchased for us through His death), we travel from our personal Egypt to our Canaan. Our Promised Land is where we will dwell with God throughout eternity. Jesus says in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” So, if we have a personal relationship with Jesus, where are we? Like the Israelites, we are in the wilderness, the Land of In-Between. The Israelites sojourned there for 40 years. We will dwell in the wilderness, or the Land of In-Between, throughout of our earthly lives.

Join me as we look at some scriptures relating to the Israelites and to us. Let’s apply their experiences to our journey in the Land of In-Between.

First, God was with the Israelites throughout their journey in the wilderness and He made His presence known through the cloud during the day and the pillar of fire at night.
The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
Exodus 13:21-22
Today, Christ lives in us and we have the help of the Holy Spirit.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26

Second, as their leader, Moses could always talk with God and seek His guidance and direction.
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Exodus 33:11
Each of us can personally talk with God anytime we want. This is our privilege of prayer.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6

Third, God provided food in the form of manna for the Israelites each day. The Israelites set a good example for us in that they gathered their frosty flakes in the morning to give them nourishment throughout the day.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.
Exodus 16:4
God has made provision for our spiritual manna in the form of scripture that we can feed on every day. May we remember to take time to gain new spiritual insight when our minds are fresh in the morning.
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
I Peter 2:2-3

Fourth, the soles of the Israelites’ sandals did not wear out even though they wore them for 40 years.
Yet the LORD says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.
Deuteronomy 29:5
God watches over us so that our souls will not wear out for the duration of our journey in the Land of In-Between.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
I Corinthians 10:13

My Reader, every day of our lives is spent in the Land of In-Between waiting for Jesus to return so we can live with Him throughout eternity. While we are on the journey to this Promised Land, each of us will experience specific times of waiting that bring our attention to the fact that in a narrower sense we are also living in the Land of In-Between. We will feel like we are in the wilderness wandering and waiting. Life can be rather wild in the wilderness! The trials of some trails are more difficult than others. Maybe you have lost your job and you are waiting to find new employment. Maybe you are waiting for results from a medical test that will reveal whether or not you have cancer. Maybe you are waiting to see whether your spouse will go to marriage counseling with you or if you will be served divorce papers. You can give a name to the situation that accentuates your waiting in the Land of In-Between today. I know it is frustrating to wait. However, there are lessons God can only teach us in this Land of In-Between. The Israelites traveled around Mt. Sinai many times during their 40 years of waiting to cross over into the land of Canaan. So I encourage you to take another trip around your mountain or sit at the foot of your Mt. Sinai until the Lord reveals your next travels. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” The Lord will make our paths straight even when we are waiting and wavering in the wilderness of the Land of In-Between!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: The phrase about the land of the in-between resonated in my spirit when I first heard it. I do not know if there is a specific person to whom I should give credit for these descriptive words or not. However, I do know that what I have shared in this post are insights the Lord gave me when I thought about and prayed about the Land of In-Between.

Composers of “Creation’s Concerto”

 

music-score-21400765966hkzi6

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Psalm 96:1

music-group-8016385189_df6b4e1fb1

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Psalm 150:6 

My Reader, do you know that you are the composer of a sacred song? This sacred song is commonly referred to as your life. Actually, your song is one line of a musical score being composed by you and the Master Composer, the Lord our God. Using a musical analogy, we can say that every person is created by the Lord with the intent that his or her life will be a part of a concert glorifying God. The Lord allows each of us to write our own composition under His direction and guidance. Each life is one line of Creation’s Concerto. Musical miracles and maladies are both part of the melody. I think the Psalmist may be encouraging us to write our personal part of Creation’s Concerto when he says in Psalm 96:1, “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.”

Let’s look at some of the options we have for writing our song.

1) Do I write in a major (harmonic) or minor (dissonant) key?
There will be times for both keys within your music depending upon whether you are experiencing positive or negative situations in your life.

2) Do I use whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes etc.?Consider each note as being a word or a thought or an action of your life. Words in a casual conversation may be like quarter notes receiving one count each. Some thoughts may be fleeting like quick eighth or sixteenth notes. Other actions may take a long time and require the full count of a whole note.

3) Do I always write notes or do I also include rests?
God knows you need rest as well as action in your life. Do not be discouraged by times of rest. These times will soon be replaced by more melodic notes.

4) What are triplets?
Triplets are three notes that equally share one count or beat. These three notes remind me of the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

5) Is the tempo allegro (quick and lively), andante (walking tempo) or largo (very slow)?Some days go by very quickly while other days may seem never-ending. You can include various tempo changes within your song.

6) What about a ritardando (gradually getting slower) for just a few measures?
Some moments of life will gradually grow slower for a short time and then return to a more normal pace. This is the function of a retard in music.

7) Do I need to include notations for forte (loud) and piano (soft) sections in my song?
All of life is not heard or spoken with the same dynamics. Think about the cries of a baby. If the baby is hungry, he will cry very loud! If he is content, you may hear a quiet cooing sound. Different messages come forth through different decibels of sound.

8) What about crescendos (gradually getting louder) and decrescendos (gradually getting softer)?
These are experienced numerous times! Words, thoughts and actions will always be increasing and decreasing during each day of your life.

4) Will there be repeat signs in my song?
Yes! The Lord allows you to repeat certain experiences, or melodies, until you learn a lesson, or get a message.  He is always teaching you throughout your musical melody and repetition can be a valuable tool.

7) Will I use bars lines and a double bar line in my composition?
Bar lines divide music into measures and I see each measure possibly representing a year of a person’s life with the notes within each measure being a day of life. The day will come when a double bar line is placed at the end of your sacred song. However, God will be the One to put that musical sign in place.

Psalm 150:6 says,Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” We all have breath and the Lord desires us to praise Him through the songs of our lives. So, My Reader, what does your song sound like today? I said at the beginning, that you are the composer. That is true in the sense that you control your life by choices you make. However, you are not a soloist while either writing or singing your song. Remember, the Lord is your co-composer. (Next week we will think about how the Lord is also the conductor of a sovereign symphony.)

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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In the Palm of His Hand

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands
Isaiah 49:16 New International Version (NIV)
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.
Isaiah 49:16 New Living Translation (NLT)

 This scripture has always been both comforting and intriguing to me.  I feel secure when I think about not only my name but my life being engraved or written on God’s hand.  It is a beautiful picture of love.  However, I am also curious as to how God really accomplishes this feat.  Is this a literal fact or a symbolic image?  Engraving involves carving or imprinting a name or image on a surface. I have heard the engraving process correlated to the crucifixion of Jesus. When the nails pierced through Jesus’ hands as He was nailed to the cross, it has been said that not only our sins but our names where in His hands.  Although a very painful picture, it is also a very personal portrayal of the engraving process Jesus was willing to endure for me.  My name and life were deeply etched into the palm of His hands that day over 2000 years ago.  With this assurance, I can place my human hand into His divine hand today with full assurance of His protection and power.  I say this with the assurance found in the following scripture.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you
Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

Not only is my name engraved on the palm of the Lord’s hand, but He holds my hand and leads me through each day and each activity I perform with my hands.  Sometimes this may mean I will hold the hand of someone else.  I may hold the hand of my husband as a way of showing him my love and demonstrating the oneness between us.  I may hold the hand of a small grandchild not only to show affection but also as a way to keep him or her secure and away from harm.  I may hold the hand of an elderly person as a way to steady him or her so they will not fall.  I see that the reason I hold another person’s hand may be one of the same reasons why God holds my hand!  I want to echo the words of David from the following Psalm. 

I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.
I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
Psalm 63:8 NLT

 My Reader, I could continue with my semantics about hands, but I know a picture can be worth a thousand words, so let me share the following images along with a few comments.  May this give you some direction for meditation regarding God’s hand upon you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Your hand!

hands 3 mf

Your hand or God’s hand?

 hands 9 mf

What did Jesus’ hand print on the cross look like?

hands 6 mf

All the hands of God’s children are engraved on the palms of His hands!

hands 10 mf

Does your hand reach out to God’s hand?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or is your hand fighting against God’s hand?

hands 2 mf

Whose hand do you hold?

prayer- hands mf

Do you fold your hands in prayer thanking God for His hand upon your life?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Under Cover

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was cold the other evening so I put an extra quilt on our bed.  While snuggling under the warmth of the covers, the Lord gave me a reminder of His presence covering me.  It was definitely cozy sleeping overnight and in the morning I was still thinking about what the Lord was showing me as I fell asleep.  As I started looking for scriptures, I found a couple of interesting Psalms.  The last part of Psalm 32:10 says, “the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.” I also liked the last part of Psalm 5:11, “Spread your (the Lord’s) protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”  I can cuddle under the concepts of both of these verses!  Blankets keep my body warm and these scriptures keep my heart warm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPsalm 91 is one of my favorite Psalms and it comes to my mind as I think about staying warm physically and keeping safe spiritually under the covers.  The first part of verse one says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  I need physical rest through sleep at night, and even more importantly, I need to daily rest spiritually under the covering of the Lord.  Such things as worry and fear need not be a part of my life if I trust the Lord.  In verse 5, the Psalmist promises, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;”  Being covered with God’s feathers gives me the mental picture of snuggling under a down comforter that may be filled with feathers.  Not only am I covered by the Lord’s feathers, but I am protected from the enemy and spiritual harm.  When I read this verse the image of a baby bird under the nurturing wing of its mother comes to my mind.  The mother covers its young that is unable cover itself.  The mother’s wing not only keeps the little birdie warm but also protects it from any predator that might want to hurt it.  There are times when I feel like a very helpless child of God who is too weak to take care of myself and I need to rely upon the tender care of the Lord.  Both my physical life and spiritual life are covered by God’s divine grace and power.  Just like Linus in the Peanuts cartoon, I need a security blanket.  The Lord covers me with the warmth of His love and the security of His faithfulness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I let my thoughts wander back to my keeping warm in bed.  During the night I most likely turn over a few times, and this means that I may take a little more than my share of the covers with me when I turn. I tell my husband that it is his responsibility to pull back the extra covers I take so he will not be cold.  I do not take extra covers intentionally.  Proverbs 4:27 says, “Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  My husband probably would like to tell me to lie still and not turn to the right or the left. However, I do not kick him with my foot!  My response to him might be another scripture found in Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”  That sounds to me like it is alright to turn from my right side to my left side and vice versa.  Spiritually though, God is warning me to stay on the straight path with Him and only turn to the right or left when His wisdom guides me to do so.  A change in direction could cause me to slip into sinful ways.  My turning the wrong way could also be a negative witness to another person.  Just like my turning over and taking the covers can result in my husband being cold, my turning from God’s way can cause another person to leave God’s path and become spiritually cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Reader, how are you keeping warm on these cold winter nights?  An extra blanket can be helpful physically.  However, you and I can get rather chilly and challenged spiritually if we do not stay secure under the covering of the Lord no matter what the thermometer tells us the outside temperature is.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Thought for the week:  God’s comfort is our best comforter!
“P
raise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” –   II Corinthians 1:3

I AM – i am

 

Jehovah-shalom…………… Jehovah-shammah……………  Jehovah- sabaoth
I am the Bread of Life………I am the Resurrection and the Life…….. I am the Bread of Life

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.’”
Exodus 3:14

This scripture has always been one of my favorites because it is such an all-inclusive name for God.  God is the I AM – and that cannot be proclaimed by anyone else! Personally, I often like to think about this name of God as being an open-ended statement that I can complete to meet my personal need at a specific time.  When I do this, I realize I am seeking God’s presence according to a specific attribute, but it also allows me to visualize God as being the One who meets my need at that time.  Paul says in I Corinthians 15:10, “by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.”  Combining the statements in Exodus 3 and I Corinthians 15, I come to the conclusion that “i am what i am because I AM is I AM.”  My Reader, I want to make a few applications regarding this with you and me, but before I do that allow me to give you some biblical background.

In Exodus 6:3 God tells Moses “I am the Lord.” Lord is the English translation of Jehovah, the Old Testament covenant name of God.  Jehovah is the most sacred name of God in the Old Testament and is a form of the verb “to be, to become.”  Now hear what is found in Exodus 3:14: 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.’”  Whenever a Jehovah compound name is used, it is God revealing some aspect of who He is.  For example, Jehovah-Jireh means “the Lord will provide” or God is saying “I AM your provision.”

In John 8:58 Jesus says, “before Abraham was born, I am!”  Here is Jesus identifying with God as Jehovah of the Old Testament.  In the gospel of John, there are eight “Jehovistic names” of Jesus when Jesus uses “I am” statements such as “I am the Bred of Life” found in John 6:35.

My Reader, I hope you are still with me because now we are going to apply this knowledge to our daily lives.  What I want to do next is to show you how we can personally claim a scripture verse as our own and make an “I am” statement exclusive for ourselves at any given moment.  As I make the statements below, I will use capital letters (I AM) when referring to Jehovah God and Jesus and will use lower case letters (i am) when referring to myself.

I AM Jehovah-rapha
is expressed by the Lord in Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord, who heals you.”
and Matthew 4:23 states that Jesus healed every disease and sickness among the people,
therefore
i am healed
because Isaiah 53:5 prophecies that “by his (Jesus) wounds we are healed.”

I AM Jehovah-raah
is expressed by David in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd.”
I AM the good shepherd
is proclaimed by Jesus in John 10:11
therefore
i am a sheep
because Isaiah 53:6 says, “each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
and because Jesus says in John 10: 27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.”

I AM the light of the world
is proclaimed Jesus in John 8:12
therefore
i am a light in the world
because Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before others, that they
may see your good deeds  and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The key to remember when claiming the attributes and character of God for ourselves is that God is sovereign and He chooses how He reveals His nature to us and at what time our declaration is fulfilled.

My Reader,  I want to share one more thing with you.  I notice that God refers to Himself as “I AM,” not as “I was” or “I shall be.”  His name says, “I always have been, I always am, and I always will be.” The presence of our God is for the present moment.  Yes, He has been with me in the past and I know He will be with me in the future, but now is the most important time.  Yesterday is the “now” of the past and tomorrow is the “now” of the future.  Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  That validates the statement that God is “I am who I am.”

Joyfully,   
Cheryl
gold apple new

Challenge for the week:  At the top and bottom of this blog you will find various I AM names for Jehovah and Jesus in blue.  You might enjoy learning more about these names on your own.

Jehovah-shalom……………Jehovah-shammah…………… Jehovah- sabaoth
I am the Bread of Life………I am the Resurrection and the Life…….. I am the Bread of Life