Veteran’s Day- Remembering

I am currently reading All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque with a student.  It graphically describes the horrors of WWI as seen through the eyes of a young German soldier.  Most of us read this in High School and could not relate to what the author was saying.  We were too young and inexperienced to realize the truth of the characters experiences.  Nothing adequately describes the horrors of war and its aftermath in the mind and soul of the individual.  November 11th is set aside for the specific remembrance -the 11th month, 11th day at the 11th hour the armistice was signed ending WWI, named the war to end all wars, and yet it did not.  Scripture tells us there will we wars and rumors of wars until the end of time.  Today we remember those who served and those who died in any war or conflict with grateful hearts.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Here are some pictures of the beaches and cemetery at Normandy.  This was place of great sacrifice during World War II.  Thank you to each Veteran on this Veteran’s Day for your service and the sacrifice of all those who have died to preserve our freedoms.  I am most grateful.

In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends”. (NIV)  These brave men and women paid the ultimate price and they did not even know me.  I am humbled by their patriotism and sacrifice on my behalf.

Gratefully,

Linda

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I AM the Shield

God is our shieldIn Deuteronomy 33:29 the LORD gave 2 names by which God is known- the Glorious Sword and the Shield.  Previously I wrote about the Glorious Sword but today my focus is on God’s name-the Shield.  Blessed are you, Israel!  Who is like you,  a people saved by the Lord?  He is your shield and helper  and your glorious sword.  Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.”  God was the shield for His people in Old Testament times and today He is a shield for all believers.  Through faith in Jesus we can claim God as our Shield and helper.    I looked up the word shield and found several definitions – armor held to ward off blows or missiles, a person or thing that guards, protects or defends and a shape in various forms that protects in tunnels from cave-ins, a heavy metal screen like a heat shield, insulating wire that shields against electrocution, or a protective screen against radiation.  As you look at the verses below-see how God is the perfect shield in all circumstances!

ephesians 6 16Ephesians 6:16 “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”    God is a Shield against Satan’s arrows or missiles.

Psalm 3:3 ” But you, Lord, are a shield around me,  my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  God is the person who shield and defends. 

Psalm 5:12  “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous;  you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”   

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield;  my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy,  and with my song I praise him.”    

Is God your all around shield that protects you in all circumstances against the world that seeks to destroy your witness and lead you away from Him?  Consider these verses:

Psalm 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect:  The Lord’s word is flawless;  he shields all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield;  the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold  from those whose walk is blameless.

Psalm 91:4 “He will cover you with his feathers,  and under his wings you will find refuge;  his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield;  I have put my hope in your word.”

Proverbs 30:5 ““Every word of God is flawless;  he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

God's protective careAs a believer, God promises to be the Shield in your life.  American Civil war hero, Stonewall Jackson, claimed God as his shield and was so thankful.  How about you?  Be encouraged today!

Linda

 

 

I AM the Glorious Sword

Lord swordTwo new names of God appear in Deuteronomy 33:29, Glorious Sword and Shield.             “Blessed are you, Israel!
    Who is like you,
    a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
    and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
    and you will tread on their heights.”   Moses concludes his blessings to each tribe with this overall statement of the blessed position the children of Israel had since the Lord was with them, fighting for them and protecting them.  As believers, we belong in God’s family today and have God as our protector, defender and shield.  

The image of God having or wielding as sword is seen throughout scripture.  David refers to God’s sword in Psalm 17:13 “Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.”  David knew that God would defend him and calls upon God to use His sword in action.  In Isaiah 66:16 God is shown to be the avenger and judge at the end of time. For with fire and with his sword  the Lord will execute judgment on all people,  and many will be those slain by the Lord.”    Jesus himself adds to this image as he explains his mission was one that would result in divisiveness between those that believe and those that do not.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Later, the apostles described the power of God’s Word to be like a sword.  Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”   We are to Holy spirit swordgo into battle with God’s sword-the Word of God as our offensive weapon.  Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   God’s sword can cut through anything physically or spiritually.  Lastly, in the book of Revelation the image of God’s glorious sword is in the mouth of Jesus combining both images of a physical sword and a sword of the Words of God. Revelation 1:16 “In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”   Revelation 19:15 describes Jesus as an avenger and judge for Holy God’s honor and hatred of sin,  “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

How can God’s glorious sword help or comfort us today?  God promises to listen and hear our prayers.  We can call upon God to be our protector and defender just like David.  We can rest in the knowledge that God will avenge wrongs done to us and will judge all evil in the future.  We can take God’s glorious sword ourselves and use the power of His Word to conquer unbelief in those around us.  God’s Sword will divide, discern and always be victorious.  We can hope in a future where God, the glorious sword,  will reign bringing justice and peace to all who believe.  Great images to take with you today that can bring peace, hope, restoration and victory to our lives.

Linda

I AM a Jealous God

el-kannaJealous does not seem an appropriate attribute to associate with God.  However, that is exactly what God calls himself in Exodus 34:14.  “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”  El Kanna is His name here in Hebrew.

How does jealous fit God?  By definition, jealous is: very watchful in guarding or keeping like jealous of your rights, resentfully suspicious of a rival like a jealous husband or wife, and  requiring exclusive loyalty.   The first and last meanings fit God but not resentfully suspicious.  God knows all, sees all and is holy so He could not be resentfully suspicious.  He is watchful in guarding our loyalty and requiring that we worship only Him.  The context of this verse in Exodus is recorded just after the incident with the golden calf.  While Moses was on the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments, the children of Israel had melted gold and fashioned a ‘god’ of gold to worship.  Moses was extremely angry when he returned and smashed the tablets and destroyed the idol.  In Exodus 34 God was explaining His nature to Moses and states that He is a jealous God desiring that they worship only Him.  The first 4 of the 10 Commandments are about our exclusivity in worshiping only God.  1-Have no other gods before me. 2-Do not make any graven images to worship.      3-Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God. 4-Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. (Exodus 20)  God demands our love and devotion.   He promises us just as He promised Abraham and his descendants, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the Lord your God will bless you as he has promised,” Deuteronomy 15:5-6a   Joshua gave a similar plea as he neared death in Joshua 24:14, 15 “14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

The message is clear- God is a jealous God and desires that we worship only Him.  Jesus promises in John 15 that abiding in Him (worshiping, loving and serving only him) will John 15-5 He Who Abide In Me Bears Much Fruit greenbear much fruit in our lives.  John 15:5  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  He alone is the source of our power for living.    In John 15:10  Jesus tells us that abiding involves keeping His commandments- loving and worshiping only Him.  “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

Will you strive to put away idols and worship only Him?  The Senior level students in my Bible Study Fellowship class had an activity recently as we were studying Joshua and the Israelites persistence in holding onto their idols.  The students were challenged to come up with something that could be an idol for every letter of the alphabet.  Remember an idol is anything you put above God in your life.  Here is a start-see if you can finish the list.  A-ambition, B-beauty in nature, C-computer games, D-dreams, E-exercise, F-family, G-goals…. M-money….Z-zealous for_______.   All of these can be good things but put in the place of worshiping God they become idols.

May you reflect today on your life and what things might become idols and draw your attention, devotion and love away from God.

Linda

I AM the Eternal God

Everlasting GodGod revealed the attribute of His eternality to Abraham in Genesis 21:33 “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.”   Abraham had just had a disagreement with Abimelech over a well Abimelech’s servants had seized that Abraham had previously dug.  They settled the disagreement with a treaty and peace offering made by Abraham.  After the incident Abraham planted a tree of remembrance and called on the Lord.  Abraham knew that God had given him the land as He had promised, Genesis 15 and 17.   He trusted in the eternal God to keep his never changing, everlasting promises.  

Here are some verses to reassure you about our Eternal, Everlasting God:

Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge,  and underneath are the everlasting arms.  He will drive out your enemies before you,  saying, ‘Destroy them!’

Psalm 90:2Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Psalm 102:27But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

Isaiah 40:28Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.”

Isaiah 46:4Even to your old age and gray hairs  I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Hebrews 13:8 “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Revelation 4:8-9Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:  “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’  who was, and is, and is to come.”      Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,”

What an amazing eternal God we serve.  Be encouraged and filled with HOPE today because our sovereign, eternal God is watching over you and you can depend upon Him now and forever.

Linda 

 

I AM the Lord of All the earth

Joshua crossin JordanMost people who have opened a Bible or been exposed as a young child have heard of the miraculous parting of the Red Sea.   Many more have seen the movie ‘Exodus’ about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt with Pharaoh hot on their trail.   Today’s blog is about our miraculous God who again parted waters for the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering.  Joshua 3 tells of the nation of Israel, led by Joshua, poised to enter Canaan but needing to cross the Jordan River.  It was flood season so the river was raging.  The Lord of All the earth told Joshua to have the priests carry the arc of the covenant in front. “Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan.” Joshua 3:11 (The arc was very sacred and contained the 10 Commandment tablets, a jar of manna and Aaron’s budding rod.  It was covered with gold and had 2 cherubim on top with wings spread creating the mercy seat.  It was carried on poles through rings by the priests and no one touched it.)  When the priests got to the edge of the raging Jordan and touched the water,  the waters parted.  And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” Joshua 3:13   Just as the Lord had said, when the priests got to the water and started in, the waters piled up on the flowing side so they could cross over. and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.”Joshua 3:15-17  

I love the image here of the priests carrying the arc going first then stopping in the middle to let the people pass.  When all the Israelites had passed by then the arc was brought to the other side.  It reminds us that the Lord of All the earth goes before us preparing the way, is with us during our day and then comes behind to protect us.  God promises us, just like He did Joshua,  that he will be with us always and we need to be strong and courageous day by day.  Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Lord of All the earth has all the elements of this world under His command.  He is sovereign and all-powerful.  Where do you need the Lord of All the earth to go with you today?  Remember He went before you to ready the day, will be with you all day and He will have your back.  There are 3 promises from Isaiah I want to leave you with today as you think about the power and majesty of the Lord of All the earth.  Isaiah 49: 16 “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;  your walls are continually before me.”   Isaiah 49:23b “Then you will know that I am the Lord;  those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:25b “for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.”   The Lord of All the earth knows me, has me engraved on the palm of His hands, will not disappoint and will fight for me.   Be encouraged to day. 

Linda

I AM the God who is There

glory of GodDo you ever think about where God is?  In the Old Testament God came to dwell in the wilderness Tabernacle filling it with His Shekinah glory.   As they traveled in the wilderness God went with them guiding their way with a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night.  When they had their camp set up, God dwelt in the tabernacle in their midst.  Exodus 40:34-35 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lordfilled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”  It is a beautiful picture of God’s abiding presence and guidance.   Ezekiel had prophetic visions of the future and closes his book with the rebuilt temple and city of God in the future.  Ezekiel 48:35 “The circumference of the city shall be 7-jehovah-shammah18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.,”  Jehovah-Shammah.     John’s prophetic vision of the City of God in Revelation 21:3 also speaks of God’s abiding presence there.  “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

It is God’s intention to live with us.  He is Personal and desires a relationship with each and every believer.  In the past God dwelt in the tabernacle and temple, in the future, God will dwell with us as described in Ezekiel and Revelation,  but what about now?  Jesus speaks of the benefits of abiding in Him, living with Him.  We will be living free in His Word, John 8:31.  We will be bearing much fruit for God, John 15:4.  We will have the power to live for Him, John 15:5.  We will be connected to God and see answers to our prayers, John 15:7.  We will be surrounded by His love, John 15:9.  We will be able to honor God by keeping His commandments, John 15:10.   Jesus promised to send the comforter, counselor to guide us and abide with us after His death.  Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”   Acts  2 records the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and how God’s Spirit indwelt the believers giving them power to live for Him.  Peter preached to the crowd that day,  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”Act 2:38.    Later in Acts Paul and Silas were in prison and the Lord shook the prison and opened the cells.  The jailer rushed in thinking they were gone and found them in their cell. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:30-31  Just like the Philippian jailer we can experience that indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit and have God abiding, living within us.  We can follow his example and believe in Jesus. When we abide in usdo,  God promises He will send His Holy Spirit to abide or live with us.  He will be with us to guide and comfort, strengthen and love us from the inside out.  God is There with us.

Abide in Him,

Linda

 

I AM the Most High God

el elyonThe name Most High God is used frequently in  both the Old and New Testaments.  The Hebrew word is El Elyon.  Beginning in Genesis the mysterious priest Melchizedek recognizes that Abraham is blessed by the God Most High. and blessed be God Most High,  who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” Genesis 14:20   David frequently spoke of God as the Most High God in his Psalms.  He proclaims where God lives, His ability to hear him, that God was his redeemer and that there is no god greater than God.  Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,  the holy habitation of the Most High.  Psalm 57:2 “I cry out to God Most High,  to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”  Psalm 78:35 ” They remembered that God was their rock,  the Most High God their redeemer.”  Psalm 97:9 “For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;  you are exalted far above all gods.”    Daniel tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar was brought low and then restored when he acknowledged the power of the Most High God.  Daniel 5:21 “He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.”  

Son of most highIn the New Testament, the angel that appeared to Mary proclaimed the arrival of the Son of the Most High God, Luke 1:32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David.”   The demons recognized Jesus’ deity and power calling him the Son of the Most High God in Luke 8:28 “When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”  In Acts the demon possessed girl that followed Paul and Silas recognized that the Most High God indwelt and spoke through them about salvation.  Acts 16:17 “She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”

What about me?  Do I proclaim that God is above all gods?  Do I believe He is indeed the God Most High?  Do you consider yourself a child of the Most High God?      Meditate on Psalm 84: 10-12Thank Him for being the God Most High in your life and for saving you to dwell with Him forever.                                                           

For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12 Lord of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Most High GodHave a blessed day as you walk with the Most High God!

Linda

I AM the God Almighty

Gen 17 1God revealed himself to Abraham as the God Almighty, El Shaddai, in Genesis 17:1-2When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”   God has always desired a relationship with his creation, man.  He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden.  But after they had eaten of the tree of good and evil, they hid themselves from God because of their nakedness and fear at disobeying the Lord. (Genesis 3:8-10)  Due to sin, we were separated from God, but God in his infinite mercy and wisdom had a plan to restore us so we could commune with holy God.  This story of redemption began with choosing Abraham and his descendants to lead the way to the coming of Jesus, our Redeemer and Savior.  God established a covenant, agreement, with Abraham filled with promises of life, restoration, and future hope.  Revealing himself to Abraham as El Shaddai is significant as it begins a revelation that continues throughout the Bible.  God shows himself to Abraham, and us, as being a God that is real, personal, a promise-keeper and one who is capable of the impossible.  God revealed himself to David in Psalm 91:1-2 “He psalm 91 1who dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”   God is our secure refuge and will provide us a place of rest- now and in the future.  Then multiple times God reveals himself as God Almighty in Revelation the book of the Bible that shows us a glimpse of the end of story here on earth.  Revelation 11:17 speaks of His eternality and future reign, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,  who is and who was,  for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”

Do you know this God Almighty?   He is the all-powerful God of the Bible who is above all others, hates sin, loves righteousness, is holy, gives life and blessings to those who know Him, knows each one who believes in Him and knows the future.  He is indeed God Almighty, El Shaddai.  We can personally know God Almighty by knowing and believing in Jesus and being filled with His Holy Spirit.  Then we can walk with Him each day being in communion with Him.  He will enable us to walk with Him blameless in a relationship made possible through our faith in Jesus.  If you have time today, read 1 John 1 where John describe this relationship with God through Jesus and tells us how to begin this relationship.  1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Knowing God personally is as life changing for us today as it was for Abraham.

El ShaddaiStep out today with God Almighty by your side confident and assured that God Almighty, our all powerful God, is with you.  Have a blessed day!

Linda

I AM the God who Provides

jehovah jirehThis revelation of God’s character appears in Genesis 22:14.  “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  Abraham was doing as God commanded on Mt Moriah, preparing to sacrifice his only son, when God provided the ram of sacrifice.  Abraham believed God’s promise that from him would come a great nation so he must have believed God could resurrect his only son if the need arose.  It is a picture of what God did in Jesus to save us all.   

God's wayThis name for God, Jehovah-Jireh, is one of my personal favorites.  Think back in your life and recall a time when God provided exactly what you needed when you needed it and it seemed impossible for that to have happened.  That was the type of moment Abraham experienced on Mt Moriah.  He trusted God, and God answered in a miraculous way.  It seems that God always answers ‘outside the box’.  I think of ways God could answer my prayers, and it is always beyond my imagining.  Isaiah 55:8  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”   reminds us that God’s ways and thinking are not human, not like us.  His solutions or answers are always perfect in context and timing!

We can be encouraged today, as we serve a God who provides.  Claim Philippians 4:19 in your life and let the stress and pressures of life rest in His hands.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Step out today with the faith of Abraham and trust God to provide exactly what you need when you note-to-self-may-24thneed it.

Learning to walk in trust,

Linda