The Best Name for God

Written by: Tim Wood

God is a God of many names. One name is insufficient to describe God. God’s names reveal His character to us. Creator, Almighty, Provider, Shepherd, King, Healer, Peace – all of these names describe our awesome God.

To me, the best name of God is Father. What a joy to know that we can call Almighty God, Father. It brings security and wholeness to our life. Every person is born with a deep desire to be loved. God, being our Father meets that need. 1 John 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

The Bible tells us that God is a Father to the fatherless. “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation (Psalm 68:5). God is a Father who will never leave us. “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10).

Many times, Jesus addressed God as Abba, which is Aramaic for father. In Mark 14:36, Jesus said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.” This was a brand-new concept at the time. In the Old Testament God was a father to Israel but no one called Him their individual Father. Even God’s personal name, Yahweh, was considered too holy to be pronounced out loud, so few people thought of having a personal connection to almighty God.

Through Christ, we have inherited the privilege to call God our Father. Meditate on these powerful words from Galatians 4:4-7, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” The fact that we can know God as our Father is a life changing truth.

God our Father, it’s the best name we can call God.

 

Passion for God

Written by: Tim Wood

David described his passion for God this way, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple”
(Psalm 27:4).

David has one heart and one passion to live in the presence of God. David has a passion to know God more and more.

Passion for God means our whole heart is involved in seeking God. This theme is seen in the following verses from Psalm 119:

Verse 10 – With my whole heart I seek you.

Verse 14 – In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.

Verse 40 – Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!

Verse 58 – I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.

Verse 69 – But with my whole heart I keep your precepts.

Verse 145 – With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes.

Saint Augustine said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek Him the greatest adventure, to find Him the greatest human achievement.”

A spark of faith a hint of desire to draw near to God can become white hot passion for Him. May we all grow in our passion for God.

Remembering

Written by: Tim Wood

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel. (2 Timothy 2:8 ESV)

 On memorial weekend we remember and honor our soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We remember with deep respect and gratitude. Christians understand the importance of remembering. Christians are “memorial people” because our faith depends on remembering. We remember the past with gracious gratitude.

God surrounds us with memorials. The Sabbath is a memorial to Israel’s freedom from slavery. Deuteronomy 5:15 says, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore, the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. Christ-followers gather together on Sunday remember our freedom from the slavery of sin that came through Jesus’ finished work.

We remember his sacrifice by receiving bread and wine as memorials to God’s amazing grace. Every baptism, every, each Christmas celebration is a memorial to Jesus our Lord.

Remembering God’s grace past, is necessary fuel to our faith and God’s future grace for us.  One of God’s most profound, mysterious and merciful gifts to us is memory. We remember what God has done and we are renewed.

As we commemorate Memorial Day, let us do so with profound gratitude for the extraordinary grace given to us when men and women laid their lives down for the sake of America’s survival.

As Christ-followers, let us make every day, as long as it is called today, a memorial day (Hebrews 3:13). Let us “be careful not to forget the LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:12). And every day, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!” (1 Timothy 2:18).

 

 

God's Serenity in Your Life

Written by: Tim Wood

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

 Be still literally means to slacken, to let go or to relax. Think of it this way: to take your hands off and rest. We like to be hands on people and attempt to manage everything in our lives which is impossible. There are numerous things that happen in our lives that we have no control over. Psalm 46 talks about natural disasters - the earth trembling, mountains quaking, things we have no control over. The Psalm talks about civic disturbances – nations raging and kingdoms tottering. Again, we have no control. The key to knowing God is in control is to be still, to let go and know God is in control.

Millions of people have prayed the Serenity Prayer. Most people only pray the shortened version which is, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can: and the wisdom to know the difference.” Did you know that there are 8 more lines to this prayer? The rest of the Serenity prayer says, “Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.”

God’s serenity floods my life when I day by day, moment by moment, surrender to His control. Every day is an opportunity for you to be still and know that God is in control. Make the decision today to take your hands off so God can put His hands on. The first step to serenity is to let go and know God is in control.

 

 

 

Shema - Hearing God

Written by: Tim Wood

The Hebrew word to hear is shema. It’s one of the most important words in Judaism. According to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “God is not someone we see but someone we hear.” How true. Rabbi Sacks further describes Moses’ supreme revelation at Mt. Sinai. “Then the LORD spoke to you out of the fire. You heard (shema) the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice” (Deuteronomy 4:12).  Shema appears in Deuteronomy 92 times, compared to 6 times in Leviticus.  Rabbi Sacks says, “We have a lot to hear from God.” I would agree.

He makes the point that hearing God is centered around five primary senses:

1) Focused attention – “Be silent, O Israel, and listen” (Deuteronomy 27:9).

2) To hear – “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10).

3) To understand, as in “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other” (Genesis 11:7).

4) To internalize, take to heart “And as for Ishmael I have heard you” (Genesis 17:20) meaning, “I have considered what you have said; I will bear it in mind.”
5) To respond in action, as in “Abraham did (vashema) what Sarah said” (Genesis 16:2).

In Deuteronomy 6:4, the Bible says, “Hear, O Israel…” (Shema Yisrael) it means listen, concentrate, stop what you’re doing and give God complete focus. Engage all your faculties, intellectual and emotional. Make God’s word and will; your word and will.

Rabbi Sacks sums up shema this way, “In Judaism faith is a form of listening: to the song creation sings to its Creator, and to the message history delivers to those who strive to understand it. That is what Moses says, time and again in Deuteronomy. Stop looking: listen. Stop speaking: listen. Create a silence in the soul. Still the clamor of instinct, desire, fear, anger. Strive to listen to the still, small voice beneath the noise. Then you will know that the universe is the work of the One beyond the furthest star yet closer to you than you are to yourself – and then you will love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, all your soul and all your might. In G-d’s unity you will find unity – within yourself and between yourself and the world – and you will no longer fear the unknown.”

Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning,
alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure (Proverbs 8:34-35 The Message).

http://rabbisacks.org/covenant-conversation-5770-vaetchanan-the-meanings-of-shema/