Devotional

Names of the LORD: Part One of Nine

The LORD, I AM

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ … ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’”  Exodus 3:14-15 KNJV

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet.” This is Juliet’s line in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. Through Juliet, the Bard was telling audiences that a name is nothing but a name. Romeo is the same person Juliet would love if he didn’t have the dreaded Montague name that linked them to their families’ feud.

Despite Shakespeare’s claim, names are an important part of who we are. They connect us to family, culture, and to our own identity. Baby name books state the meanings behind names, which some people consider carefully. Actors have changed names to portray a different type of character; what type of parts may John Wayne have had if he was known by his birth name, Marion Robert Morrison? 

Names of the LORD tell us about the character and attributes of God. There are many names for the Lord God in the Bible. In this nine-part series, we will explore some of the names of the LORD. His names reveal who He is. As we learn more about God through His names, my prayer is that we will know Him better and become closer to Him.

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When reading the Bible, Lord and LORD are seen. What do these differences reveal?

LORD, or YHWH in Hebrew, means the self-existent One. The LORD always has been, He is, and He forever will be, therefore He is the eternal I AM. The name LORD is sometimes translated in English as Jehovah. GOD (all uppercase) also refers to YHWH. It is the name I AM that the LORD has Moses tell the Israelites is the God who sent Moses to them.

Just imagine, the self-existent One knows our future before we are even born! What confidence we can have in knowing that the LORD has no end, but that He will still be God in the future, and still hold us and our families in His hand.

Jews consider the name LORD or YHWH too holy to say, nor do they want to misuse His name. They refer to God as Adonai, translated as the Lord (partly lower case). Sometimes Lord is rendered “Almighty.”

This form of the name Lord is derived from sovereignty. The name Lord was also used as a name for people to show that someone was the head or master over them. David used it when he called to King Saul (I Samuel 24:8). Sarah used it referring to her husband Abraham (I Peter 3:6). The Lord Jesus Christ is sovereign over us. He is the head of the Church, and believers are the body.

What’s in a name? In the names LORD God and I AM, we learn that our God is the Self-existent One, the eternal I AM, and the Almighty God.

If we really consider who the LORD God is, how will that change the way we relate to Him?

Dear LORD God, thank you for being eternal. We can serve You, because death has no hold on You. Lord, please be the master of my life. There is no God like You. Amen.

Resources:

  • The New Scofield Study Bible- New King James Version, 1989 Edition.  (Thomas Nelson Publishers Nashville TN), Notes for Genesis 34:6, p.121.
  • Thomas Carroll, “The Difference Between GOD, God and god in the King James Bible.”https://www.againstspiritualwickedness.com/2019/12/01/the-difference-between-god-god-and-god-in-the-king-james-bible/ (posted 01/12/2019, accessed 08/01/2022)

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Greater love has no man than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13NKJV

Joseph M. Scriven, (1819-1869), wrote the poem What a Friend We Have in Jesus in 1855. He sent it to his mother in Ireland to encourage her in her time of sorrow; some sources say she was ill. The poem was later put to music by Charles C. Converse. (Public Domain.)

Scriven was no stranger to tragedy. He had to give up his military ambitions because of poor health. On the night before his wedding, his fiancée drowned. He left Ireland to start a new life in Canada, where Scriven lost his second bride-to-be to illness. Soon afterwards, he joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married. He spent the rest of his life giving all of his time and money to help the less fortunate and to spread the love of Jesus wherever he went. This cost him friends who disagreed with his work with the underprivileged. Scriven’s trust in the Lord carried him through difficulties, for he found Jesus Christ to be a faithful friend. Consider the lyrics of this beloved hymn:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Ev’rything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Ev’rything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
 Can we find a friend so faithful Who with all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness, Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.

In my last devotional, The Value of Friendship, some of the attributes of a good friend included loving at all times, faithful loyalty, and communication.

Jesus loves us. He is a faithful, loyal friend. His words to us are sweet and bring delight, for His words are true, and His counsel is wise and righteous.

Jesus is not afraid of the heavy lifting, but bears all of our sins and grief. Can we find a friend so faithful who with all our sorrows share? We can come to Jesus and know that He cares and will listen. He does not forsake us. He comforts us.

We can always communicate with our Lord. He’s never too busy! He talks to us in Scripture, God’s love letter to us. The Holy Spirit within the believer brings the things of God to mind, and helps us in our troubles. God rejoices over us! No matter what we want to say to God, we can take it to the Lord in prayer.

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We can be a friend of Jesus. How?

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to You. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:14-17 NKJV

What a Friend we have in Jesus! Let’s take everything to him in prayer. May you and I be Jesus’ friends and obey Him. In what area is He calling you to obey? Be a good friend to others. Love one another.  

Resources:

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

The Value of Friendship

Oil and perfume make the heart rejoice, as does the pleasantness of a friend’s suggestions from the heart. Proverbs 27:9 MLV

A dear friend moved out of state this week. Rose has been my confidant and prayer partner for twenty-seven years. While I am happy for her that she and her husband will be closer to their family, I will miss her greatly. Our biweekly get-togethers will switch to phone and video calls, and the occasional visit.  

I’m thankful that the Lord gives us people to go through life with. Some are with us for a short season, others for life even when far away. A true friend is a blessing. The Lord knows we need those close relationships. Friends are mentioned in Scripture, along with what to look for in a person, and how to be good friends ourselves.

A friend loves at all times…Proverbs 17:17a RSV. I’ve been blessed to have many friends who love me no matter what my mood, circumstances, or schedule. They are quick to forgive. Like Rose, they love me in my good and my bad times.

Loyal friends don’t listen to gossip or spread it. I know that when I share with loyal friends, that it won’t go anywhere without permission, not even disguised as a prayer request. Rose has prayed for my situations and family members, as I have for hers. We pray with complete confidence that our prayer requests are confidential.

Better is open rebuke than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend… Proverbs 27:5, 6a NKJV. Sometimes it takes courage to be a true friend. I will never forget Rose lovingly rebuking me for a bad attitude I was carrying about a ministry that had ended for me. I wasn’t happy to hear her words, yet she was brave enough to suggest that maybe it was God’s will at the time. My friendship with Rose was important enough to me that I knew I had to get past my defensiveness and consider her counsel. In time I realized she was right. At other times Rose kindly prayed that I would have the wisdom, humor, or change in attitude to deal with a struggle I was having. She is good about receiving a rebuke as well.

A good friend helps others improve. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17 RSV. As we hold each other accountable and lift each other up, we become better people. I’ve become a better wife and mother through my friendships. I learned to pray for my family through the friends I gained in Moms in Prayer International and in church.  I also gained skills in sewing, cooking, and gardening through others.

Relationships take time. Rose and I found we needed to plan to meet every other week, even if it was just for an hour, or our busy schedules quickly could crowd out our time for each other.

Relationships require communication. Do we actively talk and really listen? Do we hog the conversation, or perhaps not contribute? Sometimes I see people at a table in a restaurant, and each person is on their phone, not interacting with the people they are with. It’s a sad way to spend time together. 

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How are our friendships? Are we being a good friend? Let’s think of a friend and tell that person what they mean to us.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of friends. Thank you for the richness they add to my life. Please help me to stay in touch and to be a better friend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

Psalm 71 —Part 5 of 5: I Will Praise You, LORD

My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23 ESV

I love singing to the Lord. It doesn’t matter the style: hymns, praise songs, or even a few lines of Scripture that I memorized to music, they all cause me to think about the Lord when I focus on what they are declaring instead of just singing the words without thinking. Praising the Lord quickly brings me from focusing on myself or my to-do list and into the very throne room of God Almighty.

We can also praise the Lord in many other ways. Worship is concentrating on the Lord, not just the instrumental and vocal music time of a church service. We worship God through our actions, our words, our thoughts, and by meditating on God’s Word. The Psalmist of Psalm 71 wrote, My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day. My lips will shout for joy (verses 15, 23).

I hope you have been with me for this five-part journey through Psalm 71. In light of whom the Lord is and what He has done, how can we do anything but praise the Lord God? He has redeemed our soul!

Praise the Lord for being trustworthy! We can bring everything to Him and know that He can be trusted with it. He has our best planned for us. He was with us in the womb, and He will be with us through our death and resurrection if we have a personal relationship with Him.

He is our refuge in times of trouble and our fortress of protection. Praise Him for being our security in a dark and dangerous world. He is our deliverer from the unjust, the cruel, and from the devil himself. Our accusers are put to shame and disgrace. We can run to our Heavenly Father and know that He loves us. He will wrap His arms about us. He calms our fears.

He alone is our certain hope! The Lord is Sovereign. He knows our life journey. He revives and comforts us (Psalm 71:20, 21). He guides and teaches us. Hope in God leads to praise.

Our God is righteous! Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? Psalm 71:19 ESV

The Lord is faithful! He is our reason for joy.

Let’s praise the Lord! Let’s appreciate the Lord and tell Him so. We like to be appreciated, and so does He!

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Let’s declare who the Lord is and reveal to others what He has done. The next generation needs to learn what the Lord has done in our life. The best information they can have is about Jesus and His salvation.

How many ways can you praise the Lord? What do you praise about Him?

Dear Lord, My praise shall be continually of You… My tongue shall also talk of Your righteousness all the day long. (Psalm 71:6, 24a)

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.

Devotional

Psalm 71 — Part 4 of 5: I Will Declare You, Lord!

I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come. Psalm 71:16-18 NKJV

President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” [1]

I think that belief in the Lord God is also “never more than one generation away from extinction.”

The Lord often told His followers to tell what He had done and to teach others so that they would know that He is the LORD. He specifically addressed that charge to parents in Exodus 10:1, 2; Deuteronomy 4:9, 10; 6:6, 7; 11:19, and other passages.

Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” Deuteronomy 4:10 NIV

Is it a guarantee that our children will follow the Lord? Sadly, I think not.

If it was a guarantee, than the descendants of Jacob (Israel) would have all gone into the Promised Land instead of wandering in the desert for forty years. Their repeated rebellion against God brought punishment in the captivities into Babylon and Assyria. Finally, in their misery, the people would turn to the Lord, and He would deliver them and free them from captivity.

We all know of prodigals who faithfully attended Sunday School and heard God’s Word at home, but didn’t keep on God’s path. I pray that yours (if that applies) and mine will come home to God again. Each of us has a free will to choose Jesus.

We are charged to tell everyone, including our children and grandchildren, about the LORD. How can any come to know Jesus Christ unless they are told? How can they turn again to God unless they learn of Him in the first place?

Sometimes it seems easier to share Christ on a mission field than at home or with friends. On a short term mission trip, I knew that was why I was in the country. Witnessing at home and in my circle of friends can be scary. I let my fear of not knowing what to say stop me from doing what is of the greatest importance — sharing Jesus.

Something my missionary leader told me helps me talk about God. He said, “Share what you know. Share what God has done in your life.”

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Let’s share what God has done in our own lives with our families and friends. Your details are different than mine. What is the same is that the Lord works in our lives in wonderful ways, and that He loves us, our children, and others.

Choose someone to tell about Jesus this week. Pray about who it is, and make that commitment. Let’s not let belief in the Lord God become extinct in our generation.

Lord, please give me boldness. I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone. (Psalm 71:16 NIV) Amen.

[1] Ronald Reagan quote. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/13915-freedom-is-never-more-than-one-generation-away-from-extinction

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.