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Jehovah–Shammah–God Who Is Here

Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

I’m so glad our Lord talks to His children. Recently, Jesus has been speaking to me about the fact that He is always right here, not just always available, but actually, right HERE with me (and you!). “for thou art with me…”

My dictionary app says the definition of a colon is ‘that a writer is separating two clauses of which the second expands or illustrates the first.’ “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” Another way of understanding the colon is that it answers the question ‘Why? Because…’ “I will fear no evil: [Why? Because] thou art with me…”

One of the names or titles God has for Himself is Jehovah-Shammah—Jehovah is there. According to Charles Spurgeon, in his New Year sermon in 1891 on the text in Ezekiel 48:35 “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” declaring: “It is esteemed by the prophet to be the highest blessing that could come upon a city that its name should be, JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, The Lord is there,” (wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah-shammah).

This is so powerful. John 7:38-39 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” Acts 2:17 “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:” (v38-39) “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.”

Jehovah is not just in a city. He is not a god who is over there somewhere. He is the God who is right HERE! He is the God who has come to be IN YOU, just as He promised. Jesus truly is Jehovah-Shammah, God who is Here. He isn’t just with you, He is in you. He is right Here, right next to you. 

Jesus has offered to give YOU His highest blessing—to be your Jehovah-Shammah. Wow!

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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in encouraging posts

 

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Knowing God and Doing Exploits: Up For an Adventure, Anyone?

In Defence of the Realm by Bernie CondonDaniel 11:32 “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

What does it mean to be strong and to do exploits? Is it simply an adventure? Like one of David’s mighty men? These men were crazy awesome, right out of the heroes from The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.

I love the idea of adventure, being strong, and doing exploits, but what about the portion that goes before? The part about ‘the people that do know their God’? How do you get to know God? Really KNOW Him? Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

According to the Mac 101: Dictionary, the word ‘adventure’ is both a noun and a verb. The definitions include, ‘an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity, daring, calling for enterprise and enthusiasm, especially the exploration of unknown territory.’

To be honest, being a Christian is most definitely unusual and exciting, sometimes hazardous, certainly calling for enterprise and enthusiasm (Rejoice in the Lord always!). Choosing to set aside your own will and trust Someone I can’t see or hear or touch is all of the above and then some!

When Jesus came into my life and I gave Him my allegiance, He set up residence in my heart and life. People talk about ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ and that’s a good thing, but the reality, the true meaning of that is surrender, submission, giving up control. It’s not just turning away from my old life, it’s turning and cleaving to a brand new and very different life. 

One of the things I love about The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit is their sense of duty. These men (and women) are heroes. They have a purpose and they give their lives for it. Another favorite of mine is Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel series. These take place during the French Revolution with Sir Percy Blakeney, a rich English aristocrat, sneaking in and out of France in various disguises rescuing people condemned to the guillotine. Again, a hero who answered a calling.

Of course, these stories are fun, fiction, but what about reality? What about getting to know this great God of ours and being strong and doing exploits? Is that real? Is that even possible today?

Yes! Sometimes the strongest thing a man or a woman can do is what’s right.

The battles today are for our values, our marriages, our children. You have the ability to change someone’s world. By loving God and seeking His will and way and doing it, you can save a life. You can participate in saving a soul.

What’s an exploit? According to the Mac 101: Dictionary, an ‘exploit’ is a ‘bold or daring feat’.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the Lord asks me to do what seems totally counter-intuitive. At least, it’s not what I want to do. (Guess that goes back to that Proverbs 3:5-6 verse, the one about trusting in the Lord with ALL your heart and leaning not to your OWN understanding…)

The Lord called my husband to be a musician. How can a man support a family as a musician? (We have five kids.) But, my husband obeyed the Lord and He has provided in incredible ways. The Lord called me to be a writer. What? A writer and a musician and five, FIVE, kids? Yep. We’ve got a great house in a good neighborhood and we’ve never gone hungry.

The Lord called us to pick up and leave a great, big house and move to Chicago, all seven of us. Nine million people terrified me. Yet, when the Lord called us, He took away all my fear and I don’t mind traffic. Miracle anyone?

If you choose to allow Jesus to direct your path, He may take you to some crazy destinations, but He will go with you. If you choose to take the time to get to know Him, to really KNOW Him, He will make you strong and you will do exploits. You will change the world…

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2015 in Author in the Trenches

 

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The Challenge of Christmas

Agatha Christie Miss MarpleRecently, I’ve become acquainted with Agatha Christie’s wonderful mystery stories. So far, my favorite of her detectives is Miss Marple. She is sweet but shrewd, ‘wise as a serpent, innocent as a dove.’ She, like Jane Austen, is perceptive of human nature and sees both virtues and flaws. She notices things and thinks about them, like Sherlock Holmes. She doesn’t put herself forward, but she cares about people and tries to help where she may. Often times, because of her age and the fact that she comes from a small town in England which she frequently references, people underestimate her. Yet, it is she who ends up figuring out ‘who-dun-it’. 

“It has been said that there are only three motives for murder: money, love, and revenge,” says Carolyn Wells in her excellent book, The Technique of the Mystery Story. “The most interesting motives are doubtless money, love and revenge; but the ramifications of these include hate, jealousy, greed, safety, ambition, inheritance and many others—in fact, the whole category of human emotions.”

Indeed, the earliest recorded murder was all about revenge and jealousy. Cain killed his brother Abel because the Lord received Abel’s offering, but rejected Cain’s (Gen. 4:1-10, Heb. 11:4, and 1John 3:12). James 4:1-3 says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

I enjoy reading mysteries and trying to ‘play detective’ right along with Miss Marple, but there’s a challenge, if you’re willing to accept it. In reading the stories, I put myself in amongst the characters, of course as the brilliant detective or one of the innocent bystanders, but am I willing to see my own faults? Am I willing to see myself as one of the suspects, with good reason? Am I willing to see myself as the murderer? Scripture says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him,” (1John 3:15).

The most important question is: Am I willing to submit myself to God and change?

What causes anyone to want money so badly they’re willing to kill for it, to twist love so much that they would rather the other person die than belong to anyone else, and/or to seek revenge for some perceived wrong? Why do we think so very highly of ourselves? 

This is a strange thing to post right before Christmas, but perhaps not.

When do we become the most greedy? What has Christmas become but a time of getting rather than giving? Oh, we justify it to ourselves, but where is our focus? It’s not on Jesus!

What has this season become? A time of stress instead of worship, a time of taking rather than giving, a time of disappointment rather than thankfulness? We endure the holidays rather than cherish family and friends. We guilt-trip one another rather than simply loving people. Instead of prayer and worship, we fret and complain.

Oh Lord, change me. Let this season be a time of worship and love, a time of giving and cherishing, a time to be a blessing to someone else. Thank You for robing Yourself in flesh and coming as a helpless infant, Immanuel, God in the flesh, Jesus, Jehovah has become my Salvation!

Merry Christmas!

 

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Meeting God in the Laundry Room?

Washer_and_dryerI don’t know about you, but laundry has not always been one of my favorite chores. It’s not exactly fun to sit in front of a dryer with a seemingly endless pile of clothes to fold. In a family of seven, we generate quite a bit for our washer and dryer!

However, the Lord has shown me a sweet time of prayer and quiet as I sit in front of my machines folding. I am so thankful for plenty to wear. I am thankful for my husband and each of my children. I am thankful for good health and the ability to run and play and make our clothes dirty! As their clothing grows with them, I am thankful for each stage of life my children pass through. Soon, their little jeans will be tall and their dresses full size. Too soon, they will move out and I will only have my husband’s and my clothes to wash.

I am thankful for warm sheets and blankets that cover each of us at night. Though these items are a bit harder to fold (I can’t sit, too short!), they remind me that my Lord is active on my behalf. He speaks, I must listen. He covers me and cares for me and mine. I can’t give anyone air to breathe, but He does every moment of every day. I can’t watch and protect those I love all the time, but He can and does.

It’s not necessarily fun to do laundry, but it can be a sweet time of prayer and connection and thankfulness to the Lord. As a mom there are many, many chores that must be done to keep a home running smoothly, dishes, meal prep, vacuuming, changing sheets, cleaning mirrors and sinks and toilets, and the list goes on. Yet, in all of this there is so much to be thankful for, plenty of food to cause dirty dishes, a solid home to vacuum, soft beds to sleep in, a bathroom with running (hot!) water.

The bottom line is this is part of my calling as a wife and mother to serve my family. Of course, I need to teach my children to do chores as well. I don’t have to do it all, but I am ultimately responsible for seeing that it all gets done. But there’s more to the lesson than simply to keep our home running smoothly. I must also teach thankfulness and joy in serving others. This is God’s way and it’s good.

Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

How have you found joy in what others might consider ‘not fun’?

 
 

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What Are Your Priorities?

Friends Having Coffee and Cookies by Stuart MilesLast month, I asked, ‘Who are you?’ This month, I want to focus on what your priorities are.

I’ve read that we should simply ask the Lord, ‘What do You want me to do today?’ and, to be honest, I struggled with that. Do I ask the Lord what blouse do I wear today? Do I ask Him what to make for lunch? These are rather silly examples, but they do illustrate the point, just how deep is my walk with Him?

In my relationship with my husband, often we read each others’ thoughts. Shouldn’t it be the same in our relationship with Jesus? My relationship with my husband is more than a to-do list, but do my prayers sound more like a relationship or a to-do list? Do I love Him more than my own opinions? More than what I think should be done today? Just what IS His will for me today?

It all comes down to submission. Am I willing to submit my ideas and my opinions to the point that I don’t have to be heard? God will listen, but what’s the point? Do I allow Him to change me? Do I let my ideas and opinions go to be replaced by His? Do I actively seek to repent? Do I actively seek to become more like Him? It’s a different thing living and acting like I think He wants me to act, versus actively seeking His opinions, His will, His mind, His heart.

If I have the ‘mind of Christ’ {I Cor 2:16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”} do I actively seek Him to use that mind?

It’s an easy trap to fall into, Go to your ‘heavenly boss’ in the morning, get your orders, and then go about the rest of the day fulfilling that. But, that’s not what the Lord had in mind. He wants us to WALK WITH HIM, not just work for Him. Mat 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” and John 15:4, 6-7 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Do I get withered because instead of abiding in Him, I attempt my own yoke, my own burdens? It’s easy to fall into that, but God promises a light and easy burden and rest for my soul if only I continually, continuously walk with Him.

What are my priorities? Psalm 37:3-4, 7 (beg.) “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself…” and I Peter 5:7-8 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

You might be wondering, what on earth does that picture of two people drinking coffee have to do with priorities? To me, it’s a picture of delighting and resting in Him. I do my work with Him, not just for Him. I start my day and continue throughout the day the Lord has made for me WITH HIM and all He has blessed me with, including work.

What is on my to-do list? Oh, the usual things, prayer, Bible study, hubby time, work with kids (homeschool, Bible Quiz, etc.), meal prep, house cleaning, laundry, church commitments, work, etc. But, when I do it with the Lord, seeking His will and His way, it all goes a lot better. And, crazy enough, I feel lighter, free even. My to-do list isn’t the same as my priorities anymore and it all gets done. 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2014 in encouraging posts

 

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Who Are You?

ID-1008118Recently, I heard a story about choices. A daughter was complaining to her father about how she hated always having to endure hardship after hardship. Her patient father took her into the kitchen and set on the stove three pots of water. In one, he put an egg. In the second, he put a potato. In the third, he put coffee. After boiling the water, he asked his daughter what she saw in each of the pots. She took out the egg. It didn’t look any different on the outside, but was hard when she broke its shell. The potato which went in hard came out soft. Then, the father ladled out coffee for his daughter to taste.

The boiling water is like the hardship we have to face in life. We have no more choice than the egg, the potato, or the coffee about getting put in the water. However, how we turn out we get to choose. We can be like the potato, powerless and formed by its circumstances. We can choose to be like the egg, hard and attempt to control our situation, embracing a ‘victim mentality’. Or, we can be like the coffee and change our environment.

No matter what you do in life, writer, parent, office worker, teacher, etc., you have the power to make choices. You have the power to make a difference in someone else’s life–for better or for worse. Which will you choose?

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your response. Who will you CHOOSE to be?

Taken from the book, God Unwrapped, by Michelle Hollomon.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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In Honor of Poetry Month: Let Me Walk In Your Shadow

Rainbow In Sky by rakratchada torsapLet Me Walk In Your Shadow

by: Joyce Latta

 

Down the road I noticed

A shadow in front of me

I realized it was my own

This was plain to see.

 

As I turned

It followed me then

And kept right at my heel

As I came around the bend.

 

It was so close

Of me it was a part

Its nearness was felt

From the very start.

 

Then a thought came

Across my mind

Let me walk in Your shadow

Until the end of time.

 

Every where I’ll look

You’ll be in front of me

And follow right behind

To shield from the enemy.

 

you will never leave me

As I walk in the light

You’ll give me strength to conquer

By the power of Your might.

 

Your shadow brings healing

And deliverance from sin

Protection from without

And comfort from within.

 

O Let me walk in Your shadow

Become a part of me

Though I look through a glass darkly

Someday Your face I’ll see.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in encouraging posts

 

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