Honor for ‘The Name’

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This morning I am working on a book about our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus. In doing so I am reading about each time Our Father cut covenant in the Old Covenant (Testament). As I was doing some research on the web about the Tallit, or prayer covering that denotes covenant, I was undone by the honor and respect the Jewish people have for ‘The Name’ of our Great God. To read and sense the fear of the Lord when writing or using his Name, which by the way is the beginning of wisdom, has been humbling and astounding at the same time.

One site begins with this sentence: “Please note that this page contain the name of God. If you print it out, please treat it with appropriate respect.”

How often do I simply talk about the Lord, yet do not stop and realize that He is the King of the Universe. How often do I use His name in a flippant manner, not realizing that I am speaking of the Ruler of the Universe, who with the flick of his finger could take me out!

One of the issues in Ezekiel 22 when God was deciding whether or not to destroy the entire city was this: ‘They do not understand the difference between the common and the Holy.’

Growing up I had always understood that we do not take the Lord’s name in vain, which to me meant using the G D words. But in seeing how the Jewish people did and, still do today, treat “The Name” with reverence and honor I am getting a totally different perspective.

Yes, I understand that Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death, but, my friend, do we in our freedom forget who he is and what His Holiness is about?

Yes, we can come boldly before the throne of God, covered by the blood of Jesus, but do we really stop and consider the magnitude of the suffering it took for us to have that privilege and covering?

I was admonished by the author of this web site to remember that His Name is in this paper, and to please treat it with proper respect and honor. I was stopped dead in my tracks.

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As I continued to read I saw the Shema which was to be recited every morning in prayer.

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.

And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

Am I saying to go back under the law, to repeat rote prayers? NO! But I am saying in the mornings, I need to stop and realize the privilege and honor that I have to meet with this amazing, great, Holy God each day. Yes, I can come boldly into his presence, BUT I need to honor him for who he is, to meditate on his Holiness, His greatness, His majesty before I rush to my own needs and my problems. I need to stop and come into His gates with thanks giving because of what He has done for me. I need to enter His Court Room with praises to the One who has set me free.

I need to honor Him in everything I do this day, being aware that He is with me when I rise up and when I lay down; to understand that He is for me and will help me in my time of trouble.

I need to be aware that I am a carrier of His Name and I must be careful of how I reflect his character.

I must kneel before him, honor and respect him and yes, fear Him and Him alone.

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Because the fear of the Lord IS the beginning of wisdom.

Be Still

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It’s been a while since I’ve stopped to write on my blog. In fact it’s been a while since I’ve stopped to do anything. My world has been quite busy since May but I have enjoyed all of the activity. I’ve been to Texas to teach Redemptive gifts, one of my favorite things to do: joined a family reunion on the beach with 45 members of the wonderful Carroll Clan; hosted a retreat for 14 awesome Delta prayer warriors; visited with friends from Israel; prayed on land; researched for a major prayer initiative; and have done a lot of computer time planning for an up coming trip to Israel. In all of these activities, I’m been giving out and now my tank is pretty close to empty. I’ve loved every moment of this month, but now I hear my Father saying: Be Still.

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Cousins at Reunion

When I’m in a busy season, I seem to think that everything depends on me to get it done. I’m in charge and there is always one more thing to do.

It’s a hard thing to simply Be. Still. Ever been there? On a fast track? Praying for strength each day? Our God is so amazing. I have found strength each day and have been surprised at the stamina He has given me. Some days I’d find myself saying, “Not bad for an old girl like you!” His strength has been and always will be sufficient.

But now it is time to stop. Time to Be Still.

As my friend Anne would say, “YBH?” “Yes, But How?”

I’m trying to pull in, reach deep and Be Still. But it is hard to just stop.

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Peggy Lowery Photo

Breath deeply. Rest. ‘Consider the lilies.’ As I walk in my yard, I do see the lilies, but I see the weeds that need to be pulled up too.

 

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Peggy Lowery Photo

‘Look at the birds of the air.’ I see the birds AND the feeder that needs fresh seed and the birdbath that needs cleaning.

As Emily Freeman would say, “Take a moment to let your soul breathe.”

Remember the Riotous Sunset? Remember the Selah? Remember the 60 second vacation? Stop and Be Still. Cast all of my cares on Him. So I force myself to stop looking at weeds and see the beauty. I listen to the sounds of the birds, neighbors on mowers and let the birdbath stay dirty.

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Peggy Lowery Photo

I am being still.

It’s no longer a command, but a quiet reminder that My Father is certainly big enough to take care of the next thing. The birds won’t starve if they don’t have fresh seed and the weeds will be there next week. I sit in my swing and look around. In all of my busyness, the world around me never missed a beat. I can rest assured My Father has it all under control and I can be at peace.

Not only can I ‘Be still,” I can truly “Know that He is God.” I can allow His presence to gently take away the anxiety of ‘the next thing.’ I can treasure the quietness of the moment. I can look up and see His beauty in His creation.

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Peggy Lowery Photo

Truly I’m learning to simply Be Still.

 

The Perfect Mistake

Glasses-1200x661I received this amazing story yesterday from Bob France, a dear friend in New Hampshire. He is 90 years old, been married over 60 years to sweet Gloria and is one of the most delightful, optimistic people I know. I just had to share this story:

Can’t find your glassed? Misplaced your car keys? Stuck in traffic and late for an appointment? We’ve all been there and done that at one time or another. Have you ever thought it might just be that the Lord of all circumstances is still in control and setting you or someone else up for a miracle?

THE PERFECT MISTAKE

My mother’s father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but the were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen in one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!

The Great Depression was at its height and Grandpa had six children. He has spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration. “I’ve been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this.”

Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather’s small church in Chicago. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage. “But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches everyday, so my co-workers and I were much in prayer about my glasses. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers they found a pair of glasses lying on top.”

The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued. “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as thought they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that miracle!” The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses, but the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, because there were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realize the Master Carpenter had used him and his loss in an extraordinary way. An now he could thank the Lord for the loss of his glasses.

There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking Him. Perhaps it is something we ought to try more often. “Thank you, God for not allowing my car to start this morning.” He may have been saving your life or someone else’s from a car accident down the road. Or your lost glasses, money, shoes (You fill in the blank) may have been part of a miracle for someone else!

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theopticalvisionsite.com Earls lost eyeglasses

 

Thanks Bob! Great reminder.

 

60 Second Vacation To Change your Day

 

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I do it me self!

Those are the words I heard from my sweet three-year-old granddaughter, Paisley. She is all about independence, from putting on clothes, bath time and buckling her own seat belt. In reality I was there to help, still in control, at least most of the time.

Watching her struggle to put on a tee shirt, getting it all twisted up was precious. Finally becoming frustrated, with big, tearful eyes I heard that sweet little voice cry, “Memaw, I need help!”

And over and over during our week of babysitting, quietly the Lord reminded me that I do the same thing. “I do it me self!”

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Many times overwhelmed, I continue to push on with my ‘to do list’ worrying, trying to handle tasks that are too big for me, thinking, “I have all this to do and I have to do it myself!”

Preparing the house for company, buying the groceries, cooking and cleaning. “I have to do all of this myself!”

Getting ready to teach a workshop, to speak at a retreat, answering emails. You’ve got it! Do it all myself!

Father, forgive me when I forget who is really in control and sends me help when I call. Just like Paisley, I am mistaken that I don’t need any help. But when push comes to shove, You are there. You’ve always been there waiting to help me.

So I stop for one minute. I take a 60 second vacation and connect with my Father.

The Psalms says “You show me the path for my life, and you surround me with songs of deliverance.”

When I get tangled up with the cares of everyday life, overwhelmed by circumstance,  He shows me the way out, the path He has already cleared for me.

And HE sings!

He doesn’t shout at me that I should have known better. He doesn’t say I told you so. He sings.

And as I stop for just 60 seconds, look to Him and listen for His voice, I hear His song: His song of deliverance. His song that releases peace in the middle of my turmoil. His song that says “I’ve got this one!”

I stop, take a deep breath and remember who is really in control. I still have much to do, but somehow the load seems lighter, my mind is not so troubled and my day goes a little easier.

In my heart I feel a strange sensation called ‘Joy’. I find myself smiling. And with the joy comes strength and energy. Rather than a burden, I actually enjoy the shopping, the cleaning. I get new insight as I prepare for the teaching. He really is my help in times of trouble, even in the small tasks of everyday living.

So today, in the middle of your busyness, stop, take a minute, 60 seconds, to breathe.

Breathe deeply, asking for his help and thank him for this one moment in eternity that you have connected with him. Acknowledge his presence and his help.

Thank Him for where you are and what you are doing. Shopping? Thank him for the provision you have so that you can shop. Transporting kids from one place to the next? Thank him you have children and the means to transport them. Cleaning toilets? Take advantage that you are on your knees and pray for some one who needs a little extra boost today.

Take a 60 second vacation. Stop. Breathe. Connect. And give thanks. It will change your day!

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Sunday’s coming!

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Resurrection day! He is risen!!

But this resurrection morning, I felt heavy. As a family we celebrate with a Seder meal on Thursday evening and all of my children and grandchildren try to be here. And this year was amazing, But now they were all gone, the house was quiet and I felt lonely. But why? Surely this is not what I should be feeling? Isn’t this the glorious victory, the climax of the story we had just celebrated on Thursday?

There, I’ve admitted it. I am ashamed to say it, but yes, as my mama used to say, I was down in the mouth.

As I sat with my first cup of coffee, a blog I usually read popped up. “Mmm, he doesn’t usually write on Sunday” I mused. So I read it.

It was as if this blog, “Wisdom from a Father” (Click here to read) was directed toward my leaden heart. He discussed how we lead up to Resurrection day with fasting and a strong focus on the cross, the agony of the suffering, and how our own sin is cause for this suffering. We sometimes get ‘stuck’ on Good Friday, but whole point of the narrative, even the entire Old Testament, is Sunday Morning, Resurrection day.

As I read his post, I realized I had a choice. Yes, Jesus died for my sin, my shame, my bondage, but the greatest message is He didn’t stay dead. Yes, He paid the price, but He did much more than that. He defeated death and brought us to complete victory, resurrection of our spirit and hope for our future.

I remembered a song by the Christian artist, Carmen. “It seems like Friday night, dark and hopeless….. But SUNDAY’S COMING!”

Hope began to rise in my heart.

Later at church, our pastor, John, read the story of The Resurrection what really hit me was the power of the resurrection. When Jesus rose from the dead, the entire earth shook with resurrection power. Not just the portion around Jerusalem. The earth shook in Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia. And the Bible says, “The same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you!”

My heart exploded in hope! He Is Risen! The heaviness gone, and joy flooded in.

Earlier it seemed like Friday night, but Sunday’s coming!

I want to leave you with this sweet story sent to me by my friend, Brenda Malone.

There was a little boy named Phillip who had Downs Syndrome. In Sunday School the other children really didn’t pay him much attention, because his responses and actions seemed foolish to their eight year old minds. The week before Resurrection Day their teacher gave them all an empty plastic egg. They were to spend the week looking for things to put in the egg that reminded them of resurrection life. On Resurrection day the children eagerly awaited their turn to share the treasures they had collected. One shared a seed and the teacher was pleased. Another shared a butterfly, which delighted the teacher. Then came Phillip’s turn. When Phillip opened his egg, it was empty. Some of the children laughed. “He didn’t do it right!” said the little girl with the pretty pink bow. But little Philip hung his head and whispered quietly, “I did do it right. It’s empty because Jesus’ tomb is empty. That’s why we have new life.” Suddenly, the boys and girls got very quiet. They ‘got it.’ Phillip was right. The empty tomb was exactly what Easter was all about. The empty tomb. Resurrection. Jesus didn’t stay dead; he rose up to bring us all new life.

Yes, we never forget the cross, the pain, the suffering, the death. But we must not stop on Good Friday. No matter how dark your Friday might seem, no matter the depth of your heart ache, the tomb is still empty, resurrection power is still available, and Sunday’s Coming!

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Be blessed this day with Hope, Joy and His Resurrection Power.

The Blessing of His Presence

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From Public Domain images

We are familiar with the Aaron’s blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”

When Billy Joe pastored our first small Methodist church one of my favorite portions during the Sunday morning service was the benediction. It was such a comfort to go out with this blessing ringing in my heart, surrounding me with His presence as I charged forth into the week ahead.

Many times as a harried mother of 4, Sunday was not the most restful day of the week. My husband was the pastor, so he usually left early to prepare for the day at church, which meant no help getting ready for the big day of the week. “The Sunday Morning Service.” By the time I walked into the quietness of the sanctuary I had fed hungry mouths, found missing socks, retrieved shoes from the toilet (literally!) and wiped snotty noses. Yet we proudly walked to the front row with hair combed, clean clothes and even bows in our hair.

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I sat in a pew with three wiggly bodies (one in the nursery, PTL!), critiquing my husbands sermon (Oh yes, I did! Sorry BJ), and checking the faces of the congregation to see who might have been offended that week. ‘Did I turn on the crockpot with the roast inside?’ ‘Did I turn off the coffee pot?’ I’m afraid I didn’t receive very much insight into the word. But at least I was able to sit for a while. That pretty much summed up my ‘worship at church’ during this new season of my life.

All too quickly, BJ was finished and I had missed the main point. Again.

Then came the Benediction.

“The Lord bless you and keep you.”

My spirit would leap up passed the confusion of my mind and the tiredness of my body, like a dry, thirsty entity to grab hold of those words. “The Lord Bless you and KEEP you.” Like a warm blanket, these words took on tangible meaning in my heart. The Lord Himself would keep me, surround and protect me. Protect me even from the fear and anxiety of being a young pastor’s wife. You see, BJ went to school to become a pastor, but unfortunately there was no school for a pastor’s wife, and my fabricated image of who I should be was skewed. I had expectations of myself that were unrealistic and certainly not demanded by the precious people in our church. Yet I could not see it at the time and I lived with great anxiety and fear of being found out that I was NOT who they thought was.

“The Lord make His face to shine upon you.”

His face. Not the faces of the needy, the offended or even the friendly faces. His face. His smile, His delight, His pleasure. To know and feel His acceptance and love, even though I felt I was the least to deserve it.

“The Lord lift up His countenance upon you.”

His Countenance. This word also means his face, but in my heart it meant more. His presence, His light. His protection. It was a though this very word meant He looked up to the rest of the world and said, “This is my daughter and I am pleased with her.” Amazing validation, which opened my heart to the clincher, the last sentence in this extraordinary blessing.

“And give you peace.”

Shalom. More than a quietness. The fullness of the word Peace. Everything brought back into the full restoration of the Father’s original intent. Nothing missing, nothing broken, all whole again. Shalom, Peace. Rest for your soul. And strength for the journey ahead.

Today, I am reminded again of those wonderful, frightful, early days in ministry. I have shifted in so many areas of my life over the years. And throughout, His blessing has never changed. It has grown richer and deeper in my heart, and still brings that warm comfort and peace to my soul.

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From Public Domain Images

My hope for you, whether you are a young believer or a seasoned prayer warrior, is that you too would remember, embrace and walk in the fullness of this blessing. Aaron’s blessing.

The Blessing of His Presence.

A Good, Good Father

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Mildred Bean, an amazing Bible teacher and dear friend grew up in the Bayou Country of Louisiana. Recently she called and, tongue in cheek, told me she was developing some new teachings called Bayou Bible School, because she realized that some of her foundational lessons of life came from the Bayous of Louisiana. I have asked her if I could blog some of her tales.

 

 

Our Last Bayou Bible School Lesson: The Last Deer Hunt

15 years ago on a warm sunny afternoon, Dad asked me if I wanted to go deer hunting. Although not his ‘little Milly, the hunter’ any more, I knew I was still ‘his girl’ and sensed a special moment in the making. As a creature of comfort, hunting on cold days is not my thing, but I made a mad dash to get a hunting license, grabbed my gear and climbed into his jeep heading to the hunting camp.

Hunting has certainly changed over the years. He dropped me off at a high, enclosed deer stand, quite different from the old stump that was my original stand. Then he handed me his rifle and drove away as I climbed into the stand. Enjoying the time alone with my Heavenly Father in His amazing creation I worshipped, I listened and I watched. An opportunity to kill a buck did not seem to be my priority at this point, I was basking in the presence of the Lord of Creation.

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Bayou Sauvage NWR Mammals

As the daylight was just beginning to wane, several graceful doe silently eased out into the clearing. Quietly I watched as the buck sauntered regally out of the brush. Remembering the training learned from my dad, I put the scope on the deer and squeezed the trigger. Deer scattered every direction! Not seeing the buck fall, I simply waited patiently in the stand for my dad. I knew he would come quickly. And he did. Scouring the brush for a trail, Dad stepped out of sight into a nearby thicket. Suddenly I heard whooping and hollering and laughing. My dad had found the buck and was much more excited than even I was. Just hearing him laugh and seeing the pleasure on his face because of my accomplishment was much more rewarding to my heart than even the thrill of bringing home the prize.

Later, I reflected on our Heavenly Father and how He takes great pleasure in our success. He is delighted in our obedience and rejoices over our achievements. He’s a good, good Father.

Luke 10 indicates that Jesus jumped for joy when the disciples returned with their amazing testimonies. And in Zephaniah the Amplified version says, “The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior who saves! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest in silent satisfaction, and in His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins, or even recall them; He will exult over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 AMP

So today, know that your heavenly Father also rejoices over you. Just as my dad put me in the best stand in the best location for the best opportunity for success at deer hunting, so your Heavenly Father God is setting up circumstances in your life for your success. And always remember, He is for you, not against you. He knows the plans he has for you, plans to give you a hope and a destiny. As the song says, He’s a good, good Father.

Listen and enjoy!