The Names of God

“And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.” (Genesis 7:16)

Many stirring books have been written on the general subject of the names of God. Most of the names make use of one or two of the three primary names. The first is Elohim, meaning “mighty one.” It is a uni-plural name—plural in form but singular in meaning and verb usage, suggesting the uni-plural nature of the triune Godhead, appearing in most English translations as “God.” It most often is used when worldwide events or attributes are discussed, including creation, judgment, sovereignty, transcendence, and salvation. The second is Jehovah, meaning “the self-existent one,” which appears as “LORD” in English translations. It stresses God’s holiness, nearness, concern for man (especially Israel), hatred of sin, love of sinners, and His revelatory nature and communication. The third is Adonai, a more general term meaning master and used of both men and God. It appears as “Lord” in English Bibles.

For example, the name Elohim, the transcendent, uni-plural, Creator God, is appropriately used exclusively in Genesis 1:1-2:4, the account of creation from God’s perspective. Throughout the rest of Genesis 2, the account of creation from man’s perspective, the combination name Jehovah-Elohim is used. Man was at this point without sin, in full accord with his Creator, and experiencing the fullness of His love and communication. The curse, as related in chapter 3, changed things forever, and in chapter 4, Adam and his offspring, painfully aware that their sin has broken God-established relationships, relate better to Jehovah, the Savior. In our text for the day, we see Noah obeying the orders of Elohim, the sovereign judge, to enter the Ark, but Jehovah, the loving Savior, making them secure. JDM

Seeking Approval

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. —1 Timothy 5:20

I cannot believe in the spirituality of any Christian man who keeps an eye open for the approval of others, whoever they may be. The man after God’s own heart must be dead to the opinion of his friends as well as his enemies. He must be as willing to cross important persons as obscure ones. He must be ready to rebuke his superior as quickly as those who may be beneath him on the ecclesiastical ladder. To reprove one man in order to gain the favor of another is no evidence of moral courage. It is done in the world all the time.

We’ll never be where we should be in our spiritual lives until we are so devoted to Christ that we ask no other approbation than His smile. When we are wholly lost in Him the frantic effort to please men will come to an end. The circle of persons we struggle to please will be narrowed to One. Then we will know true freedom, but not a moment before.

Lord, does anyone ever really get over the desire to seek the approval of others? That is a battle for which we are totally dependent on You for victory. Help me today to be content with only the smile of Your approval. Amen.

Discipleship: Saying Goodbye to World’s Toys

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:… he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised…. James 1:12

There is one kind of human suffering which can be known only to the believing Christian, and that is voluntary suffering deliberately and knowingly incurred for the sake of Jesus Christ!

Such voluntary suffering displayed among us in these times is a luxury, a treasure of fabulous value, a source of riches beyond the power of the mind to conceive. And it is rare as well as precious, for there are few in this decadent age who will of their own choice go down into this dark mine looking for jewels.

But of their own choice it must be, for there is no other way to get down. God will not force us into this kind of suffering; He will not lay this cross upon us nor embarrass us with riches we do not want.

Some riches are reserved for those who apply to serve in the legion of the expendables, who love not their lives unto the death, who volunteer to suffer for Christ’s sake and who follow up their application with lives that challenge the devil and invite the fury of hell.

Such as these have said goodbye to the world’s toys; they have chosen to suffer affliction with the people of God. They have accepted toil and suffering as their earthly portion.

But where are they? Has this breed of Christian died out of the earth? Have the saints of God joined the mad scramble for security?

Are we now afraid to suffer and unwilling to die?

I hope not—but I wonder. And only God has the answer!

A Believing Remnant

Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. ROMANS 11:5

What is God trying to do with His believing people?—the Bible calls us a remnant according to grace, believers taken out of the great, teeming swarm of so-called religious people in today’s world.

I am inclined to join others in wondering if the Lord is postponing His coming because He is trying to get His Bride ready.

For years it has been the popular idea in evangelical Christianity that the whole body of believers in Christ would rise like a flock of frightened birds when the Lord comes. But A.B. Simpson and William MacArthur and others in the past generation said, “Oh no! The Lord will take with Him those who are prepared and ready for His coming!”

I do not presume to give an answer satisfying to everyone in our churches. But I know that many Christians are too smug about this, saying in effect: “I am converted to Christ through grace, so I can live as I please!”

Of some things we cannot be dogmatic; but we know this for sure—God has no halfway house between heaven and hell where He takes us to fumigate us!

Dear Lord, today I pray for my pastor and my local church. Help us as a congregation not to be surprised on the day of Your return!

VIDEO Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus, A Capella

Oct 27, 2012

Hymn : Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus |
Music & Lyrics : HELEN H. LEMMEL

Story Behind this song:

Helen Howarth Lemmel was born in England in 1863, into the home of a Wesleyan minister who immigrated to America when Helen was a child. She loved music, and her parents provided the best vocal teachers they could find. Eventually Helen returned to Europe to study vocal music in Germany. In time, she married a wealthy European, but he left her when she became blind, and Helen struggled with multiple heartaches during midlife.

At age 55, Helen hears a statement that deeply impressed her: “SO THEN, TURN YOUR EYES UPON HIM, LOOK FULL INTO HIS FACE AND YOU WILL FIND THAT THE THINGS ON EARTH WILL ACQUIRE A STRANGE NEW DIMNESS.”

“I STOOD STILL,” Helen later said, “AND SINGING IN MY SOUL AND SPIRIT WAS THE CHORUS, WITH NOT ONE CONSCIOUS MOMENT OF PUTTING WORD TO WORD TO MAKE RHYME, OR NOTE TO NOTE TO MAKE MELODY. THE VERSES WERE WRITTEN THE SAME WEEK, AFTER THE USUAL MANNER OF COMPOSITION, BUT NONETHELESS DICTATED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.”

How Could Someone So Persecute Jesus!

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? —Acts 26:14

Are you determined to have your own way in living for God? We will never be free from this trap until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our own rights and insist that this is what we intend to do, we are persecuting Him. Whenever we rely on self-respect, we systematically disturb and grieve His Spirit. And when we finally understand that it is Jesus we have been persecuting all this time, it is the most crushing revelation ever.

Is the Word of God tremendously penetrating and sharp in me as I hand it on to you, or does my life betray the things I profess to teach? I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the very spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of only one thing— a perfect oneness with the Father. And He tells us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). All I do should be based on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that others may use me, go around me, or completely ignore me, but if I will submit to it for His sake, I will prevent Jesus Christ from being persecuted.

by Oswald Chambers

The Landmine of Covetousness

Ephesians 5:1-5

One of the best-concealed landmines in the life of a believer is covetousness. We tend to think the term simply describes a desire for an item belonging to another person, but it goes deeper than that. Covetousness is an intense yearning for something we do not have, coupled with the belief that we will not be happy or satisfied until we get it.

If we are driven by an insatiable longing that distracts us from our relationship with God, then we are in danger—such intense craving is really a form of idolatry. Our preoccupation with satisfying the desire translates into our placing higher priority on the object than on God. That is the very nature of idol worship.

We all have desires of the heart, and many of these are planted by the Lord Himself. Longings within the framework of God’s will are acceptable. For example, there is nothing in the Scriptures that says it is wrong to want a nice house or a reliable car. God has a purpose, plan, and time worked out to meet our needs and supply legitimate wants. However, when we choose to fulfill a God-given desire in a way that is not in keeping with the Lord’s will, we are guilty of covetousness.

The reason covetousness is so damaging is that it has no end. When we achieve one goal that we thought would satisfy, we discover that we are still not content. So we look to something else that we think will bring satisfaction. But nothing can bring peace and genuine contentment to our heart other than a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The New Birth

“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18)

The term “born again” has come into wide use in recent years—too wide and popular, in fact, for many who use it have little comprehension of its meaning. First of all, there can be no real Christian who is not a “born-again Christian.” Jesus said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Ye must be born again” (John 3:3, 7).

The Creator of the new birth is the Creator of the universe, as the text declares. He begat us as a kind of first fruits of His creatures. The new birth is not a new leaf, or a new morality, but a new creation! “Except a man be born of . . . the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

The miracle is accomplished through faith in Christ, believing the record of His saving work, as revealed by the Scriptures. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23).

Those who are truly born again will inevitably exhibit the characteristics of a spiritual birth, just as those who are born physically exhibit signs of physical life. As one characteristic of the new birth, “whosoever is born of God doth not commit [i.e., ‘practice’] sin” (1 John 3:9). Another sign is that of true Christian love, for “every one that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7). Furthermore, “whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The new birth is not a religious cliché but a miracle generating everlasting life. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). HMM

Choices

I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. —Psalm 119:30-31

The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will….

A man is absent from church Sunday morning. Where is he? If he is in a hospital having his appendix removed his absence tells us nothing about him except that he is ill; but if he is out on the golf course, that tells us a lot. To go to the hospital is compulsory; to go to the golf course, voluntary. The man is free to choose and he chooses to play instead of to pray. His choice reveals what kind of man he is. Choices always do….

I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?

The answer to these questions may tell us more about ourselves than we can comfortably accept. But we had better face up to things. We haven’t too much time at the most.

Lord, help me to make choices today that are pleasing to You. Amen.

God’s Will: Less of Me, More of Him

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11

Some Christian believers seemingly are committed to endless dialogue about the deeper spiritual life, just as though it were some new kind of fun and games. Actually, many people want to talk about it as a topic but no one seems to want to know and love God for Himself!

When do we learn that God IS the deeper life?

Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship.

This means that there is less of me and more of God—thus my spiritual life deepens, and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will.

I think this is what Paul meant when he penned that great desire, “That I may know Him!” He was expressing more than the desire for acquaintance—he was yearning to be drawn into the full knowledge of fellowship with God which has been provided in the plan of redemption.

God originally created man in His own image so that man could know companionship with God in a unique sense and to a degree which is impossible for any other creature.

Because of his sin, man lost this knowledge, this daily partnership with God, and his heart has been darkened. But God has given sinful man another opportunity in salvation through the merits of a Redeemer, only because he was made in the image of God, and God has expressed His own everlasting love for man through the giving of His Son.