Have you ever thought about the Lord of hosts?

Lord of hostsAs I have only a few days left in this month, I wanted to go back and pick up a few names of God I have not written about before.  The Lord of hosts is a name of God referred to in the Old Testament and first appears in 1 Samuel 1:3. “Now this man (Elkanah) used to go up year by year from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord.”   This is the beginning of the story of Hannah, Elkanah’s wife who had no children. They went to Shiloh yearly to worship where the sanctuary to the Lord was erected.  It is a tender story that shows her dedication to the Lord, and how God,the Lord of hosts,  met her greatest desire.

So why this name for God?  Lord of hosts would suggest a realization by the people of Lord of ArmiesIsrael that God commanded many angelic beings and is similar to the reference to God as the God of Heaven’s armies. Jeremiah 15:16 NLT    Lord of hosts acknowledges that God is Almighty, powerful and can command and use a host of beings to aid His children.  I particularly love the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:15-17.  The king was after Elisha as he had been giving information to enemy as the Lord had directed him.  He and his servant had fled into the countryside to escape the king.   When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the fear not Eishayoung man cried to Elisha.   16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”    The servant was amazed at the army the Lord had sent to protect his servant Elisha.  God’s forces were present but unseen until God opened the servant’s eyes.  

David repeatedly referred to God as the Lord of hosts in the Psalms.  Psalm 24:10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah ,  Psalm 84:12  Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!   Isaiah records this phrase in his vision of God’s throne room.  The angelic beings were speaking, “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”    Isaiah 6:3

I love this name of God as it shows me that God is always more than I can ever imagine.  He has the heaven’s and the earth at His command.  His resources far exceed our needs.  That is why I can claim His promise to me in Philippians 4:19,  “And my God will supply philip 4 19every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  I can depend upon Him to be with me and carry me in whatever circumstances I find myself.  Truly, He is the Lord of hosts the one who commands Heaven’s Armies and the whole earth is filled with His glory!

Linda

I AM…the Root of David, the bright and morning star

Revelation 22 16The names that Jesus calls himself are truly rooted in scripture, prophesies from the Old Testament.  Revelation 22:16  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  Jesus calls himself the root and descendant of David.  We can look at Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 and see that Jesus is descended from David.  Luke 3 shows Jesus line going back to David and then onward to Abraham.  Isaiah mentions the coming Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-2.  “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,  and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,  the root of jesseSpirit of wisdom and understanding,  the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”    Jesse was David’s father, thus the stump of Jesse. Isaiah’s description of Jesus as one filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Jesus also referred to himself as the bright and morning star.  I love this image of the star seen just before sunrise, a bright one that gives hope as we transition from night to day. rev 22 16Numbers 24:17  was part of a prophesy given by Baalem and refers to the coming of a future ‘star’ in Israel.I see him, but not here and now.  I perceive him, but far in the distant future.  A star will rise from Jacob;  a scepter will emerge from Israel.
It will crush the heads of Moab’s people,  cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.”  Knowing that Jesus can also trace his lineage back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and a scepter is a used by a king when ruling, Jesus confirms that it refers to him as He takes the name bright and morning star.

So what difference does all this make to you and me?  Jesus’ was the fulfillment of prophesies from ancient times, He was descended from King David and even Abraham, He was the bright hope for redemption, the coming of day and light to the Jews and all colossians 2 7people of the earth.  Are you rooted and grounded in Jesus?  Is He the stabilizing figure in your life giving you hope and a future?  Do you allow Jesus to shine in your life, and be your star?  Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”  Having Christ as our root establishes us in faith and allows us to walk with Him in confidence, full of life.  Peter gives us another image of Jesus as a star that rises in 2 peter 1 19our hearts as we trust in Him.  “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,  2 Peter 1:19

Let the Lord Jesus rise in your heart today.  Walk with Him hour by hour and let His light shine through you to a dark and hurting world.

Linda

I AM… the Alpha and the Omega

Revelation 1 8Jesus used this phrase to identify himself three times in the New Testament book of Revelation.  As John opens his revelation about Jesus Christ,  Jesus appears returning in the clouds and says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:8  Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and would signify the beginning of all things and the end of all things.  The designation of ‘who is and who was and who is to come’ tells us Jesus was with God in the beginning of creation and will be with us in the future.  He is the Almighty God.  He is all knowing (omniscient), ever present (omnipresent) and all powerful (omnipotent).  Only God is all these and He began all creation and will be there at the end.

revelation 21 6At then end of Revelation, these words appear again in John’s vision.  After the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:6 “He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”    Jesus, himself, will see to the creation of heaven and the new city of Jerusalem.  In that city the water of life will be given freely to all who dwell there.   What a glorious promise for us about our future home.

revelation 22 13Lastly, Jesus reveals to John that He will be returning soon in Revelation 22:12-13 ““Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”   Here Jesus specifically says He was there at the  the of beginning of creation and He will be there at the end of times.

What a powerful God we serve that from the beginning of time and creation to the end He will be unchanging and faithful.  Hebrews 13:8 tell us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”   He created all things and will see them through to the end of all time. He is unchanging in His character and purposes so we can rely upon Hebrews 10 23Him.   I love Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  We can cling to the promises in God’s Word that He is unchanging and faithful.  He will see to us in the future just as He has done in the past.  Praise God!

Linda

 

I AM…the true vine.

John 15 1Jesus made this I AM statement during His upper room discourse with the disciples. He was giving important teaching to guide and give them hope as He knew the cross was upon Him. He states this message twice in John 15:1 and 5 with a slightly different emphasis each time. “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. ” Knowing that Israel was often referred to in the Old Testament as the vine, Jesus is saying that He is the true vine, the Messiah, and God is the ‘gardener’ in life. As the gardener God has a responsibility to keep us healthy and growing strong and that only happens if you are carefully pruned. The goal of God has for us is to produce fruit in our lives and pruning will enable us to be more fruitful. Remaining with Jesus, walking with Him daily is the way to stay connected to Him. If we lose touch, we will not and cannot be fruitful.

john 15 5 stayIn verse 5, Jesus reconfirms that He is the vine. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”   Jesus identifies us as branches off Him.  We are connected and grow strong through that connection.  He adds that being with Him, walking with Him daily, remaining in Him will cause us to be fruitful. That fruit in our lives is not possible without Him.

After Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us from within. The Holy Spirit works within us to transform us into the spiritual beings that God desires, filled with purpose for Him and bringing Him glory. Gal 5 22This transformation is know as sanctification and is a life long process as we walk with Jesus. Galatians 5:22-23 describes some of this ‘fruit’ that God desires in our life that is made possible only through knowing Jesus. ” But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! These are always good in our life and give glory to God.

Do you desire to be fruitful in your walk with Jesus? Jesus said the key is to remain in Him and be open to God’s pruning. God will use the Holy Spirit within you to mold and luke 1 37shape your character so that you grow more and more like Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus each day and walk with Him. “For nothing will be impossible for God.” Luke 1:3 Watch how He will transform you day by day.

Linda

I AM…the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Jesus spoke these words in comfort to the disciples as He was preparing them for His death and departure.  Some of the most comforting words Jesus spoke come in John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”   Jesus wanted them to know He was leaving but for them not to fear and know He was going to get a place in heaven ready for them.  Thomas did not understand and questioned Jesus in verse 5, “Lord, we do not know where you are John 14-6 I Am The Way The Truth And The Life blackgoing. How can we know the way?”  Jesus’ answer is profound and complete.  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6    He went on to tell Thomas and the others how He and the Father were one and if they had seen Him then they also had see God the Father and knew Him to be true.

What did Jesus mean with His I AM statement?   I am the way– the way to heaven and eternal life,  the way to a relationship with God.   I am the truth– He is the truth of God, the gospel.  He is the Life-He is the giver of life-both physical and spiritual, the one who brings eternal life through faith in Him, the one who provides fullness of life here and now.   The way to God is only through faith in Jesus.   Jesus was God and knew that men would doubt, men would seek to earn their way to heaven, that men would claim they knew another way to get to heaven through faith in another person or things.  Jesus knew what was coming and His answer leaves not room for those thoughts.  He is the only way to God and He knows that way perfectly.   He is the truth of God, the Life giver for now and eternity and the pathway to reach full relationship with God is through Him alone.   Martin Luther had it right in His 5 Solices- Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ 5 solicesAlone, Grace Alone and Glory to God Alone.  Our faith in Jesus rests on His Word, His person and His Work on the Cross on our behalf.  Thank you Jesus.

Have a blessed day as you ponder the narrowness of the Way to God but also the broadness of it’s extent.  Not one is excluded from coming to Him.  All can come to Him in faith and will be saved.  His arms are wide open to everyone of faith.

Linda

I AM…the Resurrection and the Life

“I AM the Resurrection and the Life..”  This profound statement was made to grieving Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus.  The sisters, Mary and Martha, had sent word to Jesus that their brother, who Jesus loved, was ill.  Jesus knew he would die before he arrived so he delayed his return 2 more days.   By the time Jesus returned, Lazarus was already laid in the tomb and his body wrapped and spiced.    When they heard that Jesus had arrived, Martha went out to meet him and said,  Lazarus would not have died if you had been here.  Jesus replied, “Your brother will rise again.”   Martha being a good Jew believed in the resurrection of all dead at the end of time and said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection JOhn 11 25at the last day.” Jesus’ reply to her is life changing. 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  Her reply reveals her true belief and knowledge of  Jesus27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”  John 11:21-27   

Martha believed that Jesus was God and could have saved Lazarus had He been there.  However, Jesus’ meaning goes further when He says He is resurrection and faith in Him will lead to eternal life.  To show Martha this truth, He had her take him to the tomb where they had laid Lazarus.  Then Jesus had them roll the stone away and He called to Lazarus to come out of the tomb.   Lazarus rose and staggered out of the tomb as he was bound in his burial clothes.  Jesus commanded them to take off the grave clothes and let him go.  The raising of Lazarus  brought glory to God,  showed Jesus’ power over life and death and foreshadowed His own ability to rise from the dead.  His power was real and He truly was the resurrection and life to Lazarus, Mary and Martha.

resurrection hopeThis I AM statement by Jesus gives the believer hope in the future as we know our eternity will be with Jesus. It also gives assurance that belief in Jesus and His resurrection power will one day bring us to Him.   Do you  believe, like Martha, that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Son of God?  That belief was life changing for Mary, Martha and Lazarus and is for us too.   Today, ponder the hope you have in the resurrected Christ and the assurance you have of eternity with Him.   Be encouraged.

Linda

I AM…the Good Shepherd

john 10 11“I am the good shepherd.” Jesus made this bold statement in John 10:11 and 14.  He knew the people understood the job of a shepherd and the sacrifice it entailed.  They were to guard their sheep with their life both during the day and night against wolves, bears, and any disaster that might come their way.  He was their first and only line of defense against the outside world.  Jesus was identifying and claiming this same relationship and responsibility with those who were following Him then and those of us who would follow Him in the future.  I love the passage in John 10 as it gives me comfort and assurance of who Jesus is to and for me.

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Jesus promises that He is the good type of shepherd that will stick with us always.  He was not hired to watch over us but is committed to us because He loves us.  He affirms that He has a relationship with us in verse 14 and He knows us and we know Him.  Jesus says He willingly sacrificed His life to save us and bring us into a close relationship with Him and the Father.  Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Hand lettering God is good on watercolor heart.The attribute of being good belongs to God alone.  It is His nature to be good where our nature is rooted in sin.  So when Jesus says He is the good shepherd, He alone can claim this as He is God.  Here are a few verses extolling God’s goodness:   Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!  Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”   Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him,  to the soul who seeks him.”  Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good,  a stronghold in the day of trouble;  he knows those who take refuge in him.” Titus 3:4 “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,”    God’s goodness was truly shone when He sent Jesus to redeem us.  He desires to know us and love us.  Through Jesus we can be  brought into the arms of our loving Father.

john 10 14Jesus rightly claims to be our good shepherd, do you know Him?   He knows you and desires to embrace you with His love and care.  Step into His arms today and receive His love and protection and find that safe harbor in Him for eternity.

Linda

A Day of Remembrance-9/11

9 11As we ponder the significance of 9/11 today, what comes to your mind?  This is the 19th year anniversary of that tragic attack on the twin towers in NY and the Pentagon.  Many of those alive today have no memory of that horrific day and those terrifying events.  The same could be said for December 7th and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Both bring extreme sadness at the unnecessary loss of innocent lives, the aftermath of the events and their impact on families, the nation and our way of life.  A great sense of invasion and insecurity looms in my mind.

As I looked back, four years ago on 9/11 my new book, Promises for Dynamic Living arrived.  The arrival of a new book you’ve written is a momentous time for an author.  At the heart of this book is hope and security.  God’s Word provides us with an anchor for our souls in Christ and redemption though His work on the cross.   Knowing promises our Heavenly Father has made to us, gives me hope as I know He is eternal and always faithful to keep His promises.  He promised to send a savior and He did in the person of His own Son- Jesus.  What hope we have in Christ! He fulfilled all the promises in the Bible about himself and all questions about redemption are Yes in Him.  We do not need to fear for our future as it is guaranteed by Christ himself.

So what of 9/11 and those fears and insecurities?  Turn them over to Jesus and depend upon Him in all things.  We can cling to Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”    Nahum 1:7  “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”  John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”    I pray one of these verses gives you added hope in Jesus today.

Living in a troubled world with HOPE,

hope in Christ

Linda

A study in God’s Word that will bring you hope and assurance for living in a troubled world.  Available on Amazon or at Certa Publishing.Promises-for-dynamic-living-cover

I AM…the door of the sheep

John-10-9Many translations use the word gate instead of door, but the sheep pen used by shepherds was a rock enclosure with only 1 gate or door into the pen.  They would sleep at the door preventing anyone or thing from entering and harming their sheep.  This is a wonderful picture of Jesus as our protector or guardian of our safety.  One we are in his ‘pen’ no one or nothing can ever take us away from Him.

Jesus adds to this idea of guardian by saying He is the door.  John 10:7 -9 “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”   When we accept Jesus into our life we have entered by the door- the only door to salvation.  Act 4:12 confirms this truth, “12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Many might say there are many ways to be saved, many doors or gates but Jesus is emphatic that He is the only true door to salvation.  He warns that others -thieves and robbers have or will come, but He admonishes us to not listen to their lies and depend upon Him for salvation.

Why choose Jesus?  His door leads to love, compassion, freedom from sin, an inheritance sealed with by the Holy Spirit, life eternal, …. the benefits are many for those that choose to enter into a relationship with Jesus.  He is the only one who can redeem us romans 5 9from our sin-filled state of being, Romans 5:8-9  “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”  Meditate upon His goodness and love for you today and His mercy in loving you even when you still in sin- He sent Jesus to redeem you!  Praise God! 

Linda

I AM… the light of the world

Jesus made this claim and it is recorded twice in John.  Once when challenged by the Pharisees in John 8:12 and again in John 9:5 when questioned about the sin of  man that was born blind.

In John 8:12-15 the Pharisees were seeking to discredit Jesus’ claims saying He could not be His own witness to who He really was.  Jesus’ answers are straight forward and He John_8-12_2_turns the statements back to them so that they will examine themselves. 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.”   Jesus’ statement is bold and shows purpose and direction.  He knew where He was going, what He was doing and why.  He assures us that if we follow His light, His truth, and His ways we will not walk in the darkness of sin but have a life filled with His light and truth!   What a wonderful assurance.  

In John 9 Jesus encountered a man born blind and His disciples asked, who sinned and made this man blind- his parents or him?  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”   Jesus assured them that the blindness did not come from sin but was to be an opportunity to show the works and power of God.  Jesus performed many miracles of this kind during His ministry.  Giving sight was a living example of what Jesus can do for us as He can give us sight.  His light brings salvation, hope, understanding of God’s Word, a pathway to stronger character based on Him, guidance and direction.  He shows us the way to God.  John calls Jesus the Word in John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, john 1 4and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”   Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet  and a light to my path.”   Jesus is God’s Word brought into our lives to bring us to Him and to be the light by which we can come to God.  Praise God for His mercy and grace towards us by sending Jesus to be our light in this dark world.

Ask yourself,  Am I walking fully in God’s light, letting Him guide and direct my way?  Or am I walking part in light and part in darkness trying to live in the world, keeping worldly thoughts and actions a part of my life?   How can I walk more in God’s light and less in the shadow of the world’s darkness each day?  David gave us a glimpse of an answer in Psalm 119:9-11:                                                                                                          How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.               Stay in the Word (Jesus)
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!          Follow the Word (Jesus)
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.                     Keep the Word in your heart. (Jesus)

psalm 119 11Does this describe how your heart looks?

Have a blessed day walking in the LIGHT of Jesus.

Linda