God’s Presence Is a Present

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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

The best present anyone can receive is the presence of the Lord! In fact, He assures us of His daily presence when He refers to Himself as the I AM. Francis Chan says in Crazy Love, “God already has a name, an identity. We don’t get to decide who God is. God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ Exodus 3:14. We don’t change that.”

I AM has always been one of my favorite names for God. It is made up of only two words totaling three letters. Yet it is so all-inclusive and constant. This name has been defined as “the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God.” In Exodus 3:14 God is saying that He is a covenant-keeping God. Malachi 3:6 says it this way, “”I the LORD do not change.” The Psalmist declares in Psalm 102:27 “But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

I am thinking about scriptures that support the statement of Exodus 3:14 describing God as the I AM. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” That’s the all-inclusive I AM. Revelation l:8 declares, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” This is reiterated again by John in Revelation 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

I AM describes God as being eternal. He has no beginning or end. He was the I AM before He created the earth and He will continue to be the I AM throughout all the tomorrows of eternity. As human beings, we each have a specific birthday denoting the day we were born into existence. We will each have a date of death when we breathe our last breath on earth. God does not have a birthday; He will never have a death date. He always has been and He always will be.

I AM speaks of God’s living presence; it states that He is. These two words, one name, speak of life and of the Lord being active in our lives. Paul says in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is not dead – He is alive because I AM is in the present tense. I AM is who God is today. I WAS is the I AM of yesterday – I AM is for every today – I WILL BE is the promise of I AM for tomorrow. I never find the name I WAS or I WILL BE quoted in scripture. He always is the I AM!

I AM is always a reassurance to me that I am never alone. However, I AM describes much more than just His presence. I want to look at three attributes of God that are important aspects of the Lord being the I AM. First, He is omnipresent, meaning He is always with us. Secondly, He is omnipotent describing that He has the power to do anything – nothing is too difficult for Him. Lastly, He is omniscient, He knows everything, nothing is beyond His comprehension. All of these descriptions are present tense saying HE IS, or I AM.

In the gospel of John, Jesus chooses to describe Himself by completing the I AM name in seven different ways.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9
)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11
)
Jesus said to her,I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26
)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6
)
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I have often said that what I liked best about God being I AM was that I could personalize and complete this name to fulfill whatever my current need. However, as I meditate upon the name I AM today, I realize that I want to keep God’s name as simple as possible. I AM IS WHO I AM is how God described Himself to Moses and I do not want to add or detract from who He declares to be. If I add more words to I AM, I could be limiting God to be only who I describe Him to be. The two little words I AM allows God to be who He knows I need Him to be. I AM is a simple yet complex name! I praise the great I AM!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: Another whole study could be done regarding the Old Testament name of Jehovah. Hosea 12:5 says, “the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name! Jehovah and Lord can both be translated I AM. Consequently, each time God reveals Himself with a compound Jehovah name, He is describing Himself as the I AM. I am not going to delve into these names today, but I will include a couple of scriptures as reminders of some of these names. He is Jehovah-rapha according to Exodus 15:26, “for I am the LORD, who heals you.” He is Jehovah-shalom according to Judges 6:24, “So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace.” Finally, He is Jehovah-tsidkenu in Jeremiah 23:6, “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.” My Reader, I encourage you to do a study on the compound Jehovah names of God.

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A Burning Bush for Moses and Me

burning-bush-3

 

burning-bush-with-moese-2 Last week on a sunny autumn afternoon I went for a walk in our neighborhood. A burning bush with brilliant red leaves captured my attention. When I got home I decided to read about Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3. Then I made some comparisons.

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire
from within a bush.
Moses saw that though the bush was
on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought,
“I will go over and see this strange sight—
why the bush does not burn up.”
Exodus 3:2-3

The bright red appearance of the euonymus alatus planting attracted my attention and the bush that appeared to be burning but not burning up caught the attention of Moses. The Lord often speaks to me through the nearness of nature. Today, I believe God wanted me to see His presence in the beauty of a specific shrub. However, I am suspicious that He has more to impart to me.

God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
Exodus 3:4

Although I did not hear the audible voice of God from my burning bush, I believe Moses did hear God calling to him. I wonder if I am attuned enough to the Lord to be able to hear Him calling me by name. Moses gave a positive response to the Lord. Am I ready and willing to answer with the words “Here I am” if I were to hear His voice? Was the Lord trying to say something special to me when I stopped to look at the vibrant bush this afternoon?

Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals,
for the place
where you are standing is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:5

The holiness of God was evident when God asked Moses to take off his sandals. I, too, must remove anything from my life that might hinder my relationship with the Lord if I want to experience His presence. God is sovereign and I must approach Him with respect and sincerity. I need to alter my attitude to be able to approach the altar of God and worship Him.

Not only was God speaking to Moses through the bush that appeared to be on fire, but God pointed out to Moses that the surrounding ground was holy. God and Moses were in the Lord’s sanctuary of nature that day long ago, and so was I in God’s natural sanctuary this afternoon. I want to see and treat all of creation as holy ground.  I want to see the supernatural in the natural.

And God said, “I will be with you.”
Exodus 3:12

Throughout the remainder of Exodus 3 and 4, the Lord unveils to Moses a task He has for him to do. However, the first thing God did was to reassure Moses that he was not alone. God affirmed this fact by showing Himself in a bush that appeared to be on fire. I believe that God enjoys taking ordinary things and using them for His extraordinary purposes. I wonder what ordinary thing in my life God wants to use for His greater purposes. Is He trying to divulge more to me than simply the beauty of a burning bush? Moses’ encounter with God was the beginning of a new season in his life. For me, I see the changing colors of the euonymus alatus shrub at the beginning of the autumn season. Does God want to begin a new season in my life as well?

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM….
“This is my name forever.
Exodus 3:14-15

I think these two phrases are the most important words God spoke to Moses. He revealed himself as the great I AM. When God says “I am that I am,” He is saying “I am everything and anything that you will ever need.”  I like the name I AM for God because this name allows me to fully know Him. I can take the name I AM and complete a sentence by defining God in a specific way. For example, I can hear God saying to me, “I AM your provider” or “I AM your healer” or “I AM your redeemer” or whatever my need may be at that time.

God also assured Moses that His name never changes. His name didn’t change for Moses and it doesn’t change for me. The colors of my burning bush may change, but God never changes. During some seasons of my life, the Lord’s presence may be more vibrant and vital to me than at other times, but He is always with me.

The Lord used a burning bush to get the attention of Moses many years ago and this afternoon He used a burning bush to attract my attention. Thank you, Lord, for seeking me out and speaking to me while I was an ordinary walk. Lord, you turned my ordinary into Your extraordinary through Your presence. So, now, may the fire of a bush set me on fire for You, O Lord!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Bible Study – “LJC: Lord Jesus Christ”

 

LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a JOURNEY…..a JOURNEY involves CHANGE…..embrace CHANGE in your LIFE…..LIFE is a 

bible-for-study-mfBible Study
LJC – “Lord Jesus Christ”

At the beginning of this series of Bible studies, LJC stood for Life-Journey-Change. Now at the conclusion, LJC stands for Lord Jesus Christ. Each Bible study has been based upon specific scriptural passages that the Lord used to encourage me as my husband and I moved from one home to another. In the beginning, I used the phrase Life-Journey-Change and the initials LJC because it seems descriptive of what I was sharing. Maybe I should not have been surprised when the initials LJC came to my attention as being those of our Lord Jesus Christ, but I was still amazed. God has been the focus of all the studies so it was appropriate that our Lord Jesus Christ would be honored as a central theme. Today, let’s delve a little deeper into the meaning of the name Lord Jesus Christ and look more closely at who He is as revealed through scripture.

Lord Jesus Christ

Three words comprise this complete name. Most of the time, the majority of us use only one of these three words when referring to the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. However, these is significance to each name that is part of the full name. Let’s look at a couple of scriptures before we focus on each name individually.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made the same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Acts 2:36 NKJV (bold type is my choice)

God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11(bold type is my choice)

Lord
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
Lord is the title of the Son of God.
This title first became popular in the book of Acts. It is also the most often used name for Jesus in the book of Acts.
It is a name used most often after Jesus’ resurrection rather than when he lived on earth.
It suggests the idea of relationship. If Jesus is Lord, He is Lord of something or someone.
Lordship signifies surrender and yielding of one’s life to someone else, namely Jesus.
As Christians, we each need to place Jesus Christ on the throne of our lives at some point and time.

Jesus
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
Jesus is the name of the Son of God.
At the time when Jesus was born, this was one of the most popular names for a boy.
Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua.
Jesus means “Jehovah the Savior.”
Jesus only referred to himself by this name two times. (see Acts 9:5 and Revelation 22:16)

Christ
Come, see a man, who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ? John 4:29
Christ is the office of the Son of God.
Christ means “anointed one” and is often translated “Messiah” in the Old Testament.
Jesus did not directly use this title for himself but neither did he deny it. (see Mark 14:62)
Christ was Paul’s favorite name for Jesus and he uses it independently 211 times in his epistles.

Lord Jesus Christ
Paul uses the expression “Lord Jesus Christ” at least 49 times in his epistles of the Bible.
It is appropriate for us to consider the Son of God as Lord Jesus Christ in relationship to our Life-Journey-Change if we want our Lives to be a Journey that will ultimately Change us into His likeness.
I want to stress that every physical journey I take during my life that requires me to embrace change is also a spiritual journey of my life that allows me to be changed into the likeness of my Lord Jesus Christ. Everything is part of God’s plan and purpose and He wastes nothing. Paul says in Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” “To be conformed to the likeness of his Son” can mean “to be changed in order to obtain the character of Lord Jesus Christ.”

John 14:6

Master Key Verse: I am the way and the truth and the life – John 14:6
In our Master Key Verse of John 14:6, we hear Jesus personally speak, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” This verse helps us see the connection between our two LJC interpretations. When Jesus says, “I am the way,” it seems to me that He is saying that not only will He be with us on our journey but that He will be the way and lead the way of our journey. When Jesus says, “I am the truth,” I sense that He is telling us that He will lead us upon the true way that will change us into being like Him who is the truth. When Jesus says “I am the life,” I think He is revealing Himself as being the life we are to emulate in our lives.
Now let’s dissect this verse of scripture word by word to better understand the powerful meaning contained within it.

I AM
The name God chooses by which to identify Himself is I AM

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

The covenant name of God in the Old Testament is a form of the verb “to be” and is repeated two times. Jehovah is I AM.
In the English Bible, this name is printed LORD with all 4 letters capitalized.

God used the name I AM to show His unchanging nature.
He is always described as present tense. God is not just God of the past (I Am – not “I was”) or simply God of the future (I AM – not “I shall be”).
This name for God substantiates the fact that God is never late nor is He ever early, He is always on time when He moves in our lives.

Hebrews 13:8 states the name “I AM” by saying Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus used the expression “I am” not only to assert His claims to be like Jehovah but to demonstrate that He was Jehovah.

In the gospel of John, Jesus used the expression “I am” eight times in the context of revealing aspects of his character as Jehovah. One of these times is in John 14:6 which we are currently giving consideration.

God still chooses this name to introduce Himself to each of us while we are on our life’s journey involving change.

The Way
Jesus is the Way – He directs the Way of our journey.
“Way” comes from the Greek word “hados” that literally means “road” or “highway.” Consequently, we can say Jesus is the road of our journey.

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.”

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, His way is perfect.

Matthew 4:19 – Jesus says “Come, follow me.”- These are the words Jesus used to call His disciples and He still calls us with the same words today. He is calling us to follow Him on all of our life journeys.

The Truth
Jesus is the Truth – We encounter change so that we are able to live in the truth; so that we can be true to the example set before us by Jesus.

Jesus is the standard of truth.

John 1:17 – grace and truth come through Jesus Christ

John 5:20 – And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, that we may know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ

May we proclaim with David the words of Psalm 25:5, “Lead me in your truth.”

The word for “truth” in Psalm 25 is “emet” which is spelled with the first, middle and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Because of this, the rabbis concluded that truth upholds the first and the last of God’s creation and everything in between.

May we be willing to travel the roads of any journey during our lifetime that will change us to be the people of truth who emulate Jesus’ attribute of truth.

The Life
Jesus is the life and He chooses to share His life with us if we choose to accept Him as the Life. During our life and journey, Jesus’ life is available to us.

I Corinthians 5:45 –So it is written: “The first Adam became a living being”; the last Adam (Jesus), a life-giving spirit.
Jesus is unique among men because He has life in Himself.

Jesus, who was life, gave His life so that we who were dead in sin might live (see Ephesians 2:4,5)

John 11:25 – I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes I me will never die.
In this I AM statement Jesus not only stresses to Mary and Martha that He is the Life but He also emphasizes the importance of His being the life.

John 10:10 – I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.
This abundant life refers not only to the life we live on earth now, but the gift of eternal life as well.

Eternal life is available because of John 3:16 – 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.

Jesus says in Mark 8:35, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.”

This is what happens during our life when we go on the journeys planned for us by God that cause us to be changed. We lose our lives in order to be changed so that we can receive the everlasting life Jesus offers us.

Concluding LJC and LJC

LIFE is a JOURNEY … a JOURNEY involves CHANGE … embrace CHANGE in your LIFE
L
ORD JESUS CHRIST

Master Key Verse: I am the way and the truth and the life – John 14:6
Life = the life (Jesus)   Journey = the way (Jesus)   Change = the truth (Jesus)

Let’s now read the complete verse of John 14:6, I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.

Putting it all together, we can say that Jesus (the great I AM) is the Way and the Truth and the Life for our lives. With the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, our journeys will help us to be changed so that our final destination will be eternal life with God our Father. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord allows us to be forgiven of our sins and changed into new creations who will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

My Reader, may you hear what Jesus is saying to you through the chosen words of Sarah Young in her book Jesus Calling: “Though I lead you along paths that feel alien to you, trust that I know what I am doing. If you follow Me wholeheartedly, you will discover facets of yourself that were previously hidden. I know you intimately – far better than you know yourself. In union with Me, you are complete. In closeness to Me, you are transformed more and more into the one I designed you to be.” To me, these words confirm what I have stressed about our Lord Jesus Christ (LJC) being the way and the truth and the life of the purpose of each Life-Journey-Change (LJC) experience we encounter.

I encourage you to travel your Life-Journey-Change (LJC) roads acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ (LJC) as the Way and the Truth and the Life for you.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Author’s note: Many of the insights I have shared in this study come from Elmer L. Towns’ book The Names of Jesus that I have read numerous times over the years.