Monthly Archives: August 2017

Names

When I was a young girl, I really hated my name. Back then, I went by Debby, and there were at least 2 of us in every classroom. My heart rate always accelerated whenever the teacher would call out the name “Debby” – especially if being called on for a question I didn’t know the answer to. Not only that, I found out my name meant “bee”. I really hated bees!
I got so mad about my name that I asked my mother if she could change it. She said, ‘no’ and asked me why. I told her I was tired of having the same name as other people in my class, and I was not a bee. I also asked her what other names she had considered. I swore I was going to change my name when I got old enough to do it myself.
My mother said when she was pregnant with me, my father and she talked about names. They had no trouble deciding on a boy’s name. I would have been named after my dad, but they could not decide on a girl’s name. My dad wanted to name me Mary Ann after his mother, and my mother wanted to name me Hazel after her mother. The only name they could agree on was Deborah which they put on my birth certificate and shortened it to Debby as a nickname.
No offense to my grandmothers, but I was glad I didn’t get either of their names. There were a lot of girls named Mary in my class, so that would have been no better than Debby. And Hazel would have been an even worse choice. I would have been mercilessly teased. Back then, Hazel was the name of a maid on a television show. I was already teased enough as it was.
Today I have learned to like my name. I have done away with the Debby and now go by Deborah because I admire Deborah in the Bible. She was a strong, wise woman. In my generation, it’s not the most unique name, but it is the name my parents wanted me to have.
Just as my parents named me, God named Abram and Sari. When Abram was 100 and Sari was 90, God changed their name to Abraham which means “father of many nations” and “Sarah” which meant “princess”. He did this to reconfirm his covenant with them about giving them a son. Abram was doubtful that they could have any children at their age. But God tells them they will have a son, and they were to name him Isaac which mean “he laughs”.
For someone to know our name means we have a relationship with them in some area of our lives. It can be a significant one or a minor one. We choose how close of a relationship we want with that person.
The same can be said for God. No matter what name we have been given, God knows it. Just like Abraham and Sarah, He may also have a unique name for those of us who are close to Him. He has a relationship with every person on Earth because we are part of His Creation. We are loved by Him unconditionally no matter what we do.
We are the ones who decide how close our relationship with Him will be. We have a choice to call Him, Father, and to take His hand as we walk through life and learn more about Him so we can live more joyful lives despite our circumstances, or to keep Him at arm’s length and never have the blessing of His presence and strength in our lives. It’s our choice.

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. Psalms 139:1

Majesty of God

You had to be an ostrich with your head buried in the sand this week (8/21/17) to not be aware of the fact a swath of our country was experiencing a full eclipse of the sun. Because we live in South Carolina, my husband and I were blessed to be part of that experience. We got our glasses and took the boat out on the lake. I can only say it was a fabulous show that the Lord God Almighty put on for His children to see.

It was in the middle of the afternoon, and it grew dimmer and dimmer around us. There was an eerie feeling in the atmosphere as though there was something extraordinary about to happen. Even our dog Lily barked to signal that she knew this was out of the ordinary. On the lake, the horizon burst into violets, pinks and blues of twilight.

As I watched the moon completely cover the sun, I observed the glorious halo that surrounded the moon. It was such a breathtaking view. My husband and I sat there in awe about what we were witnessing. The moon continued to pass over, and it got light and lighter until it was normal again.

How like God to teach us a lesson about Himself in such a magnificent way. As all this was happening, I thought about how the moon represented sin in our world. It seems today more and more people are going their own way and trying to blot God out and ignore that He is and that He has laws we need to abide by.

No matter how people try to cover up or blot out God, He is still here and can be seen. His glory and majesty cannot be covered. It shines out from behind any sin or attempt to ignore Him. He is the Great I AM. Those glasses we used to watch the eclipse represent our spiritual eyes that can see His glory when others who do not have them cannot.

I was amazed at how it took only a sliver of the sun to make the darkness go away. The same can be said for God. This world, as sinful as it is, would easily be and often seems to be a dark and awful place to live, except for the fact that God is still among us in all His glory. A halo of light in a dark world.

Those of us who believe and have faith in the LORD, take on His light. We then become bits of light in the darkness. It is our job to show the LORD to others and keep Him alive in humanity by practicing and showing others the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Those are the things that are stronger than anything Satan can hurl at us. These things come from the LORD and show a glimpse of what He is like. The darkness cannot cover these things, for they shine too brightly, especially when practiced in His name.

For me the eclipse was a reminder that God is in control no matter what we do here on Earth. His Glory is always shinning for those of us who have the spiritual eyes to see. I am humbled that I can share in that glory by being a light in this world and shine for Him by faith and practicing the fruit of the spirit.

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Psalms 145:3-7 NIV

God Sees

When I was 6 or 7 years old and got mad at somebody, I used to stick out my tongue at that person. I made a mistake once and did that to my mother and got spanked for it. Of course, I did not do it again…that she could see.
After that spanking, if I got upset and felt the urge to stick my tongue out at someone, I would cover my mouth or go into another room, in a closet or under the covers of my bed so nobody could see me. When I did this, it made me feel kind of powerful. I could stick my tongue out at someone, and they’d be none the wiser, including my parents who were a major source of my irritation.
Then one Sunday we had a Sunday School lesson about the 3 O’s of God, His Omniscience, His Omnipotence and His Omnipresence. The teacher talked about how God was all powerful, and could be everywhere and see everything we did because He was right there. What really freaked me out was when she said we can’t hide anything from Him that no matter where we go, He will see us. I asked if he could see us in closets and under the covers, and she said yes. I thought, Oh, no, God has X-ray vision!
I was so upset to learn this. I thought I could hide things from God, and He wouldn’t see it. To find out that I was wrong, was overwhelming. I had no choice but to beg God for forgiveness. It was probably the first Sunday School lesson I ever had that made an impression on me.
Of course, as a child you think of all the stuff you did that you thought God couldn’t see in the closet, under the bed or wherever – anything from saying “potty words” to sticking out your tongue. I remember thinking that I was in deep, and I couldn’t do things like that anymore. I was careful from that Sunday onward for a while anyway.
As I got older, there was great comfort in knowing that God could see me no matter where I was. That meant He knew my distress and when I needed Him. That He’s there with me through the good and the bad. I don’t have to ask Him to come because He’s right here – always. He has the power to help me no matter what my issue is.
Hagar had a similar experience. She ran away from Sara and Abram. She thought that she had gotten away from all her problems to a place where no one could find her. But she was upset not knowing what she was going to do. I’m sure she was crying and scared. An angel came to her and asked her where she came from and where she was going. She told the angel about her situation.
He told her to go back and submit to Sara, and he would give her numerous descendants. He knew she was pregnant and told her to name her son Ishmael which means “God hears”. He said that God has heard your cry of distress. He also told her more about what her son would be like. From that moment on Hagar referred to God as “The God who sees me”.
Hagar returned to Sara and Abram as God requested. While her circumstances there were not ideal, she found comfort in knowing that God saw her and was with her. He was the same God who was with Sara and Abram. She knew was just as important to Him as they were because God sought her out and helped her when she needed it. Just like Hagar, we are important to God and no matter where we go or what we do, He’s right there and knows everything about us, and loves us unconditionally.

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. Jeremiah 24:7

 

 

God’s Timing

My husband and I bought an older ranch home that need some TLC. We decided the painting needed done before we moved in. We chose a light gray color for the main part of the house and decided while we were at it, to also paint the white trim to make everything look freshly painted.

My husband traveled for his job, and he was taking forever to get it done. Time was tight for us, and we had to be out of our rental soon. So, I decided to help my husband paint to hurry it along. As I painted I noticed that all paint cans looked alike, and the paints looked very similar wet. Because of this, I ended up painting the long hallway white instead of gray. Due to my impatience, it took twice as long to finish the paint job. If I would have allowed my husband to do it in his own timeline, it would have been done on time and done right. My mistake cost us several hours of repainting and took precious time from other things that needed to be done.

Just as I thought I would help my husband along, Sara thought she would help God along in His plan. Both Abram and she were still waiting for the son that God promised years ago. Sara became impatient and decided she would give Abram her handmaiden Hagar and allow him to get her pregnant. That way Abram would have the promised son.

Of course, when Hagar became pregnant, it caused a problem between the women. Hagar began to lord it over Sara because she was pregnant and Sara was not. Of course, Sara blamed Abram for the problem, even though it was her idea in the first place.
Abram tried to make peace in the household and told Sara she could do whatever she wanted with Hagar. Sara reversed the tables and treated Hagar worse than Hagar had treated her. Hagar ended up running away.

Whatever Sara had imagined her helping God might accomplish, she discovered the hard way that it was not the right thing to do. Her efforts ended up causing conflict and in the short-term harmed her relationship with Abram. God had His plan and His own timeline. There is nothing anyone can do to change that.

Waiting on God requires patience. His time is not ours, nor are His ways our ways. This makes it hard for us to know when we are supposed to act or wait on God. The key is to maintain a relationship with Him. If Sara had gone to God and asked if Hagar was the answer to the question of a son for Abram, God would have told her ‘no’. Just as Sara could ask God questions, we have that same capability. He speaks through the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

Studying the Bible on a regular basis will reveal God to us. We can learn something about how He thinks, know His ways and what’s important to Him. That will help enlighten us as to what He would have us do in certain situations and guide how we should pray. It will also give us encouragement as we wait on an answer to our prayers.

To know more about Him brings us closer to Him and builds a vibrant, spiritually healthy relationship with Him. We are His children and He loves us and wants us to know Him, just as He knows us.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8