Sunday, August 30, 2015

50 Day Spiritual Adventure 2015

September 5, 2015 edit: To my readers: I apologize for not having a new entry this week. However, I have posted Scripture for this week. Please click "50 Day Spiritual Adventure" on the right side bar for the Scripture (I have also added it below.). I hope you are enjoying reading God's Word along with me! 

Welcome to the 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!

To the regular readers of my blog, as well as those here for the first time, I would like to welcome you to join me in a time of delving into God’s Word, specifically the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Over the course of nine weeks (starting September 1 and ending October 19) we will be reading one or two chapters each day. It is not as daunting as it sounds. Be encouraged as you get into God’s Word, even when the prophets had a difficult word to share, there was such care and love too, if you look deeply enough.

The Scripture I will be sharing is what my pastor (Trinity United Methodist Church--Albia, Iowa) created and distributed to the congregation. This is something he does each fall. It is a time to be renewed spiritually. It is a time get back into the Word after a busy summer.

For some, it may be the first time they have really gotten into the Word. Wherever we are in our walk with the Lord, more awaits us. If you have yet to surrender you heart to Lord, why not do it now? Check out my blog archives for posts on salvation and what it means to follow Jesus are available for reading.

Speaking for myself, I have learned and grown from these special times. As you begin to read these passages, please do not get discouraged! If you get behind, keep on going, there will be time to get caught up.  

My plan is to post the Scripture for the week late Saturday or early on Sunday morning of that week; therefore, for a short time each week will have two posts instead of the usual one.

May God Bless you richly as you read His Word!

Scripture Calendar:

September 6-September 12

            September 6:   Daniel Chapters 11-12

            September 7:   Hosea Chapters 1-2

            September 8:   Hosea Chapters 3-4

            September 9:   Hosea Chapters 5-6

            September 10: Hosea Chapters 7-8

            September 11: Hosea Chapter 9

            September 12: Hosea Chapter 10

August 31-September 5

            August 31:      Free Day

            September 1:   Daniel Chapters 1-2

            September 2:   Daniel Chapters 3-4

            September 3:   Daniel Chapters 5-6

            September 4:   Daniel Chapters 7-8

            September 5:   Daniel Chapters 9-10

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Names of God: Elohim—God, Mighty Creator

In the beginning God [elohim] created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)


Last week, we began to ponder the names of God and how learning His names would deepen our experience of Him and cause us to have a deepening love for God. The introduction to this series within the Believing God series can be found here: Knowing God Through His Names: Introduction

Elohim (hear elohim in Hebrew) is the first name for God in the Bible—it is found in the very first verse of Genesis chapter 1 (see above). Even here we discover the triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit)—elohim is a Hebrew masculine plural pronoun, el is the singular form. To see Genesis 1:1 in interlinear form (English with Hebrew below, please click here). Jesus, while on the cross used yet another form of this word: Eloi (read Mark 15:34).

Photo Credit: P. Whitlach

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)

In John 1 we learn that Jesus was the One who spoke all things into existence—things seen as well as things unseen. Jesus has always existed and will always exist. How amazing is this?!

Photo Credit: C. Meissner

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. (Colossians 1:16 KJV)

Photo Credit: P. Whitlach 

To do this, to create, truly shows God’s power, might, and authority. His is amazingly creative! Why do we not have more moments where we sit in awe of God’s miraculous creation?

The Name that is above all others is ultimately the safest place to land—He is our provider, protector, creator, and so much more!

Can you imagine, the One who created the world and everything in it, came to earth in the most humble of ways; lived an incredibly humble existence, walking the world He created? Mindboggling! Amazing! Jesus came. He came to this world—the very people He created did not accept Him. Instead, they reviled and rejected Him. Ultimately, He lost His life to give us meaningful eternal life by rising again and returning to the Father.

Photo Credit: P. Whitlach

If we have eyes to see; we can see God’s creative power in our lives today. He sustains our life; He sends blessings of many types as we journey through our lives. God continues to create even today.

Just think the power that is God and within God is still available today! How do we know this? We know this because God never changes (read Hebrews 13:8). This being true, should be immensely comforting as we live in a world that grows increasingly dark each day.

Stand strong! Stay true! The smallest light shines brightly even in deep darkness. Remember how much light a single candle gives a dark room.

The beauty in our world should cause us to pause and thank and praise God for the beauty in the natural world. If we have eyes to see, there is beauty to be found in haze that covers trees resplendent in green foliage. Likewise, we can see beauty on a bitterly cold, snowy winter day.

Photo Credit: C. Meissner

I am so glad I serve such an amazing, creative, powerful God! What about you?

Spend some time this week pondering Elohim—Creator God. What does it mean that God is Creator?

What part of creation do you most enjoy?

Please join with me in prayer:

God of Creation, when we pause to consider this world You fashioned, we find ourselves overwhelmed with Your almighty power. We simply stand in awe of You. It is hard for our finite minds to grasp how you created this world and everything in it out of nothing; clearly that is what makes You God of all creation. Help us to simply enjoy the beauty You have given us for our enjoyment; may we care for it in a way that pleases You. Turn our hearts and minds to ponder and worship You as Creator. Thank You Elohim for all that You are and for all that You do! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

While I was pondering this post, the following hymn started flowing through my mind: All Things Bright and Beautiful 

From My Heart to Yours,


The following resources were utilized in preparing this post:

Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide by Ann Spangler, Zondervan, 2004

Friday, August 21, 2015

Knowing God Through His Names: Introduction

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10 KJV)

Our God is a God who is beyond knowing in fullness, completeness. He is awesome in power and in might. Our God is a God who has many names—names that describe Him, His nature and his character. One website states there are 900 plus names of God (the names of God)! Many of those names are actually titles. With that in mind, it is no wonder that it literally takes a lifetime of relationship to get to know Him. While on earth we can only know Him in part; for those of us who have Jesus as Savior and Lord, we will have an eternity to get to know Him. Exciting? I say, yes!

Knowing God will help us to experience Him in new and revitalizing ways. We will also come to believe Him more and more. (Notice I said believe Him not believe in Him.) As we learn more about who God is, His nature and character, we will find that we fall more deeply in love with Him. Ideally, we should grow in our love for God each day, week, month, and year.

In Bible times, names were more significant than they are today. In fact, the nature and character of a person were thought to be revealed in their name. A person’s name really did impact their life and the trajectory of their life.

There is a vulnerability in being known by name, so, in a sense, God has made Himself vulnerable to the people He created. Therefore, we should use His name (all of them!) with care. Using God’s name without thinking is not any better than using it to swear. We should use God’s name with reverence. How are we at honoring God by how we use His name? How do we dishonor God by how we use His name?

God first reveals Himself in Genesis 1:1 and continues to progressively reveal more of Himself—His nature, His character throughout the Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation—He reveals Himself to His people. This should cause us to seek after Him, to receive from Him all He has to offer us. God gets bigger as we seek Him. God cannot be put into a box—He is much bigger than any box; He moves when, where, and as He wishes.

What type of God are you reflecting as you journey through this life? We tend to reflect what we perceive.

The thoughts and ideas I have shared in this post come from Beth Moore’s Believing God study and Ann Spangler’s book Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide. I recommend both of these resources.

This post is part of my Believing God series. To read previous posts see: Believing God, Believing God: Unbelief, Believing God: Those Who Believed God, and Believing God: God is Who He Says He is.

Please join with me in prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for revealing Yourself to us. It is amazing to have the honor of being able to know You by name. Place within us a hunger and desire to pursue You, to get to know You more and more each day. May our love for You deepen as we grow in our relationship with You. Quicken to us a desire to use Your name reverently and do nothing to dishonor Your holy name. Open our eyes to how You reveal Yourself to us personally, as You woo us to Yourself. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, August 14, 2015

Worship the Lord!

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all shall worship before thee. (Psalm 22:27 KJV)

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Psalm 29:2 KJV)

This week, in preparation for considering in more depth the names and character of God and how He is truly who He says He is, let us turn our hearts and minds to worship Him. Not only does God desire our worship; He deserves us.  

We Have Come Into His House

10,000 Reasons

Come, Worship the Lord

How do you worship the Lord?

Please join with me in prayer:

Awesome Lord, we know that we are to focus our hearts and mind on You alone as we worship You. However, many times we find that our minds wander to the past or to the future. Help us to rein in those wandering thoughts, so that we can give You our all. Prepare us to learn about you and Your amazing qualities and character through studying Your names. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, August 7, 2015

Believing God: God Is Who He Says He Is


When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? …He saith unto them, But whom do you say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:13, 15-16 KJV)

Our God is a big, awesome, amazing God—a God of many names—names that describe Who He is as well as what He does—revealing His nature and His character. He is beyond what our finite minds can grasp. Yet we can get to know Him by studying and meditating on His names. Experiencing God changes us—changes us for the better; we learn to trust Him more and more.

In biblical times names were thought to describe the person; therefore, names were very important. Think about how Abram became Abraham (Genesis 17:5); Saul became Paul. What about Isaac and Esau or Jacob (their stories may be read in Genesis)—their names greatly impacted the trajectory of their lives and families? What about Jabez—a man’s name that meant “pain”—his story is recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10? In heaven, each believer will be given a new name (Revelation 2:17).

Meanwhile, we have a crafty, dangerous foe, satan, who will do his best to destroy our belief and trust in the Lord. Therefore, we must be prepared for those attacks; combating lies with the truth, as well as putting on our spiritual armor (see Ephesians 6:10-18). Be prepared for times of fear, discouragement, and doubt—determine ahead of time to not dwell in that place. The battle is daily, that is why it is so important to pray on the armor of God each day. God is patient with us in the times that we get off track, therefore, do not give up! Confess to God what your heart and mind are saying; you will find God is gracious and quick to forgive.

river photo credit C. Meissner 

Knowing God is truly a life-long adventure. Those of us who are in Christ will spend eternity getting to know Him. I am so thankful that I serve a God that big, powerful, and mighty! What about you? As we come to know God, we will ever more deeply fall in love with Him. Remember, God is eminently trustworthy. Praise the Lord; He never changes (Malachi 3:6)!

Cross at front of sanctuary Trinity UMC personal photo

What do you most appreciate about God?

What is your response when someone asks you who God is?

This journey of knowing God by His names is part of my Believing God series (see Believing God, Believing God: Unbelief, Believing God: Those Who Believed God) for the first three posts.

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being a God that is beyond our understanding. Open our minds to see Your different qualities; may we praise You for all You are and for all You do. May we seek You continually, so that You can grow, shape, and mold us into the person You desire us to become. Guide us as we study and meditate on Your qualities, cause us to fall more in love with You each day. We confess, that You are the living God, the God who Created the world and everything in it.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,