Friday, September 19, 2008

Shock and Awe part 2

Perhaps the hardest part of any journey is taking the first step. This journey to learn more about who God is and why we are drawn to him. In the process I hope to discovery why ancient men of the past seemed to have been in awe of the mere concept of God and even more so the perception of the actual existence of a Living God. Apparently they knew something about God that we have lost touch with.

Acts 17: 16-

16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols………. 22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
The people of Athens sought and worshiped many gods. Obviously they believed in the existence of gods and of A God.

I’ll assume, because your reading this, that you believe in the existence of God and that you have an understanding that throughout history all peoples have believed in a God and worshiped some form of god.

So where did the name God come from, and why do people search for God and desire to worship Him?

In English we use one word/Name for God. In Hebrew there are many.

I did a quick Google search on “names of God” and the number one response was:

The most used Hebrew name for God is Jehovah or Yahweh written as YHWH, a name to sacred to be spoken, thus no vowels.

JEHOVAH: LORD in our English Bibles (all capitals). Yahweh is the covenant name of God. Occurs 6823 times in the OT First use Gen. 2:4 (Jehovah Elohim). From the verb "to be", havah, similar to chavah (to live), "The Self-Existent One," "I AM WHO I AM" or 'I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE" as revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Ex.3. The name of God, too sacred to be uttered, abbreviated ( . . . . ) or written "YHWH" without vowel points. The tetragrammaton. Josh., Judges, Sam., and Kings use Jehovah almost exclusively. The love of God is conditioned upon His moral and spiritual attributes. (Dan. 9:14; Ps. 11:7; Lev. 19:2; Hab. 1:12). Note Deut. 6:4, 5 known to Jews as the Sh'ma uses both Jehovah and Elohim to indicate one God with a plurality of persons.

EL: God ("mighty, strong, prominent") used 250 times in the OT See Gen. 7:1, 28:3, 35:11; Nu. 23:22; Josh. 3:10; 2 Sam. 22:31, 32; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 10:5. El is linguistically equivalent to the Moslem "Allah," but the attributes of Allah in Islam are entirely different from those of the God of the Hebrews. ELAH is Aramaic, "god." Elah appears in the Hebrew Bible in Jer. 10:11 (which is in Aramaic, and is plural, "gods"). In Daniel (the Aramaic sections) Elah is used both of pagan gods, and of the true God, also plural. Elah is equivalent to the Hebrew Eloah which some think is dual; Elohim is three or more. The gods of the nations are called "elohim." The origin of Eloah is obscure. Elohim is the more common plural form of El. Eloah is used 41 times in Job between 3:4 and 40:2, but fewer than 15 times elsewhere in the OT.

ELOHIM: God (a plural noun, more than two, used with singular verbs); Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the OT, 32 times in Gen. 1. God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong. Eccl., Dan. Jonah use Elohim almost exclusively. See Gen. 17:7, 6:18, 9:15, 50:24; I Kings 8:23; Jer. 31:33; Isa. 40:1.

Another interesting study can be found at or

From this very brief exploration into the name/names of God we find that that He is "The Self-Existent One," "I AM WHO I AM" or 'I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE" as revealed to Moses at the burning bush, Ex.3.and that the ancients considered His name too Holy, Powerful, and Wonderful to be spoken by man.

“Unfortunately, to many people the names God or Lord convey little more than the designations of a supreme being. It says little to them about God’s character, His ways, and what God means to each of us as human beings. But in Scripture, the names of God are like miniature portraits and promises. In Scripture, a person’s name identified them, stood for something specific and /or proclaimed what they were to be. For example:

Genesis 17:1-5
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty [El Shaddai] ; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." 3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

Notice God has renamed Abram , meaning exalted father, to Abraham, meaning father of many. Because he has just pledged to make Abram the father of many nations.

The Lord Jesus did likewise when he re-named Simon to Peter. Mat.6:18.
17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Simon meaning “to hear” and Peter meaning a Stone or Rock

Personally I enjoy word studies and could devote too much time and space to the subject. If you’re interested in exploring this fascinating topic the links above will serve as a good starting points.

OK so I have chased that rabbit around the tree long enough and I could easily spend much more of our time trying to find the origin of God and why it “seems” that the ancients were more awestruck then modern man is towards his existence and person.. Sadly history and the scriptures don’t seem to outwardly explain the change in human attitude.
Unless we turn to Romans 1:21-23
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

I’ll end for now with this thought, a question and a request.

According to Romans 1:21 we ALL knew God.

I’ll take that to mean that a part of us has and will always know and be drawn to God. Simply because He made us that way.

“but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

Could it be that through all of our progress and learning we/ I have become hard of hearing and our/ my vision blurred towards Him? Remember I started out telling you I am talking about myself and thinking it may apply to you as well.
Have I lost the awe and wonder because we have become so wise? Men now fly, go to the moon and talk around the world on cell phones? I believe this is a large part of the problem, and it is a problem.

Today, please take a moment to visit some Wonder of God. Pick something you “think” you have a grasp on and open your mind and heart. You won’t need to dwell on it for long before you’ll see a bit of The Grand Architect in the design of “that” thing.

Make it a practice and you’ll begin to see His presence all around you.

Are you a Christian?
Is Christ the Lord of your Life?
Do you have eternal life?

“If you believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth, that Jesus Christ IS Lord, you will be saved. Acts 16:31

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John 11:41-42

".... Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."

Shock and Awe

Lately I have been reading the Old Testament and I am blown away by the sharp contrast between how pre-modern man reacted to and interacted with God vs. how modern American men and women do.

Please make a special note that I include myself as part of the group of modern American men and women. Therefore, I can use myself as an example and hopefully not offend knowing that I am more or less normal (I hope) and most people may be able to relate to my experiences.
As I read the Bible I detect a reverence towards all things God that I don’t normally see in my life. I am quite comfortable having a brief chat with God while driving or doing any number of the activities that fill up my day. I don’t give a second thought, on most occasions, to “my condition” when I come to God.

As a parallel, I have had the opportunity to meet with Congressman and a State Senators, three Governors and was invited to be at an event when Vice President Dan Quayle flew into McGuire AFB. One each of these occasions I made a point of putting on my best suit, making sure my shoes were polished and my hair combed. I have been on a few to many job interviews over the years as well, each and every time I made sure I was properly attired. On top of how I was dressed I made mental preparations for the meeting. I queued myself to use my best English skills and made a point of having something intelligent to say should the opportunity arrive. In short I prepared myself in dress, body (normally I would bath) and mind for the event. If and when I was granted the chance to speak to whoever I thought important at that time I did so with my best ability, not with common street gibberish or theatrical words and actions.

Why then do I find myself so comfortable approaching God, The Creator of all that is, all Heaven and Earth, every grain of sand and every sun, planet, moon and star and creature or thing that inhabits these places. The author of time, matter and life. THE Supreme Being who always was and always will be. The very Being that holds all that there is order and grants me the next breath I will take…..

Why am I able to casually speak to God while driving my truck to pick up building supplies? And how do I begin my conversations? “Well God.. please guide me on this or that, or help me to…” How about this one” Here we are again Lord…….”

Not long ago I prayed about this question and felt impressed that it’s OK, I’m just that comfortable with God. I am confident that to some extent I, we, should be. After all He made us for His purposes and He made The Way for us to be re-united with Him. That conversation went something like this. “…. Lord? Why is it that some people when they pray are so formal about talking to you?” The Lord responded, “ possibly you “know” me better and are more comfortable being yourself” I was satisfied with that answer, after all I “think” I know God. Then I recalled The Lord Jesus, the night before he was betrayed and how he prayed. This brought to mind other prayers of the Lord , very reverent, very deep, very contrite. “ Lord” I asked “what about how Jesus prayed?” The answer was as clear as a bell. “He KNOWS me”.

It is important I should note that, as He promised, The Lord Jesus has sent The Comforter (Holly Spirit) to us to “guide us”. As a Christian I “should” be walking at all times in a constant state of union with God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit working in us. On a few occasions Jesus prayed purely for the point of making the people around him know that what was about to be done was by Gods hand.

My point is that the quick prayers, and chats with God that we have are OK. In fact they are more then OK as they reflect that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives because no one is drawn to God but by the Holy Spirit. I’m not suggesting that all prayer needs to be done barefooted facing the east. I am questioning if we have become much too comfortable with God and in doing so are missing out on The Glory.

I intend, God willing, to devote the next couple posts to how I think the ancients knew God. To do this we will need to do some word study and to come to some common understanding of the meaning of some words. I’m not sure how far or long it will take but I feel it is important to me and hopefully to you that we regain something that has been lost. IT is the something that should keep us in wonder and awe of the Almighty

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Word of God for Today

Jeremiah 29:11-

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD,miah

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting started

I believe the Bible is the Inherent Word of God. I believe every word of the Bible is Truth and that those truths are as real, meaningful, and applicable today as they were the day they were penned, told and lived.

I believe God is the Creator of all Heaven and earth and that all that is exists because He made it to be. That He is without beginning and end (he exists outside of time) and that He is always everywhere.

I have been a Born Again Christian since 1977. My life in Christ started like a house of fire. Very shortly after my wife and I became Christians we sold just about everything we owned and moved to Dallas Texas to attend Christ for the Nations Inst. in Dallas Texas.

At that time, just prior to our decision to go the CFNI, I believed God was calling me into the ministry. I was very young in the Lord and I wanted to “know” what I believed and why I believed it. To be honest with you it bothered me that most of Christians I knew only seemed to know, for the most part, what they were taught at Sunday and Wednesday services. Like me at the time, if questioned regarding their faith or the doctrines they professed at true they were unable to scripturally and historically defend their faith.

My lack of knowledge became crystal clear one evening at work when I was testifying to a co-worker. I don’t recall the exact subject of the discussion but I do recall his question, “how do you know that?” The only answer I had to his question was unacceptable, because I had been told, in church or from a fellow Christian, whatever I was espousing as truth. At that moment I knew I had to go and learn how to find the Truth and the answers for myself. Within a week my wife and I had decided to move our young family of four from NJ to Dallas. With no thought of turning back we listed the house and began selling off what we would not need or couldn’t afford to take.

Two and a half years later we returned to NJ with 3.5 children, and a wealth of knowledge and experiences. I also knew then that although there were more then one calls on my life. The first being to raise the family God had so richly blessed me with.

Thirty years have passed since we left NJ with all of our belongings in an old Ford station wagon and a U-Haul trailer bound for Dallas Texas. The kids are grown, some married, some with children. The seeds planted way back then took root and grew slowly. Sometimes the weeds grew faster and the good seeds were almost chocked out, but the roots were strong and patiently waited for the spring.

While at Christ for the Nations and for most of years after returning have had the impression - the feeling - or possibly for lack of a better term, a vision… (It’s very hard to explain), that there is always something ahead of me, just beyond my ability to see. Almost like being in thick fog and there is something ahead. Every now and then the fog shifts just enough that I can see that there is something there. Then the fog closes back in before the form is revealed. Then the fog shifts again and another glimpse. Always there, just beyond my ability to distinguish or understand it.

I became so used to “it” that I almost stopped noticing “it”. Now an old stirring and restlessness has returned. The “it is taking form, the fog is lifting. The time has come to do the work my spirit has been prepared for.